Did the National Enquirer pay off a former Playboy Playmate in order to quash her blockbuster allegations of having a year-long affair with Donald Trump in 2006 — while he was married to Melania?
That’s the report coming from the Wall Street Journal, which claims that the company that owns the venerable supermarket tabloid, American Media Inc., is a supporter of Trump’s candidacy, and killed the story so as not to further damage Trump’s reputation.
A friend of McDougal tells WSJ that the actress-model’s affair lasted between 10 months and a year, and included Trump taking her with him to the 2006 Miss Universe pageant, where she was seated in the front row.
WSJ reports that McDougal entered into a deal with American Media Inc. in early August of 2016, paying her $150,000 for what she thought were the rights to print her story about allegedly being Trump’s mistress. However, what she didn’t know was that the Enquirer was actually paying for the rights to her story so they could bury it, a tactic in the tabloid world known as “catch and kill.”
Sources tells WSJ that because of the deal she cut with the Enquirer, McDougal — who was Playboy‘s Playmate of the Year in 1998 — is legally prohibited from telling her story in any outlet other than the Enquirer, which never had any intention of running it in the first place.
However, the Enquirer‘s parent company has issued a statement denying the Journal‘s claims, stating that AMI “has not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump,” claiming that “McDougal’s $150,000 contracted earnings were for two years worth of magazine covers and fitness columns, as well as any relationships she has had with any then-married men.”