Life&Culture

Trump faces double lawsuit threat from ex-Playboy model and Apprentice star

Trump faces double lawsuit threat from ex-Playboy model and Apprentice star

A former Playboy Playmate on Tuesday accused the National Enquirer's owner of colluding with her then-lawyer to trick her into silence on her alleged affair with President Donald Trump, making her at least the second woman to resist a so-called hush agreement in California state court.

Karen McDougal filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, which paid her US$150,000 in 2016 to keep quiet on the matter, according to a copy of the lawsuit provided by her lawyer, Peter Stris.

The New Yorker published an article last month that referenced an eight-page document McDougal wrote about the alleged affair, which a friend provided to the magazine and McDougal confirmed.

McDougal claims that Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen was secretly involved in talks with the company.

Notes published last month by The New Yorker claim Trump had an affair with McDougal beginning in 2006, when they met at a party for "The Apprentice" at the Playboy Mansion.

AMI officials could not be reached for immediate comment. McDougal says Trump did not want to leave a paper trail of their meet ups.

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McDougal signed an agreement with American Media, Inc. It said she has been free to respond to press inquiries about her relationship with Trump since 2016 and that the suggestion that AMI silenced her was without merit.

She also accuses Davidson, her former lawyer, of having worked for Trump to "catch and kill" unfavorable stories.

After signing the contract, McDougal grew frustrated when she did not hear about columns or cover shoots for several weeks. Unknown to Ms. McDougal, Mr. Davidson was working closely with representatives for Mr. Trump while pretending to advocate on her behalf. Feeling pressure, she alleges, she signed the agreement the following morning. "Through efforts including the collusion of her own lawyer, AMI has consistently deceived and manipulated Mr. McDougal through an illegitimate contract".

The news of McDougal's suit came as NY judge allowed a defamation case brought by Summer Zervos, who has accused Trump of sexual assault, to move forward by denying a defense motion to dismiss the case. Trump was married to first lady Melania Trump at the time. Neither are parties to McDougal's complaint. The 2016 agreement did not require the Enquirer to run the story but effectively muted McDougal on the matter.

McDougal's lawsuit comes about two weeks after similar legal action was taken by adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

On March 16, Trump asked to have the case removed to federal court and says Clifford owes him $20 million for breaching the contract by speaking to the media numerous times.


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