U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies concealed an affair with a former Playboy model through secret meetings, payoffs and legal arrangements, according to a report published in the media on Friday.
Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate of the Year, documented her alleged nine-month affair with Trump in an eight-page handwritten note shared with The New Yorker.
McDougal, 46, claims Trump once offered to pay her after they had sex in a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where many of their purported liaisons took place.
She alleges Trump tried to avoid creating a record that might expose their relationship by having her pay for her own flights and then reimbursing her.
A White House spokesperson said Trump denied having an affair with McDougal: “This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”
McDougal confirmed to The New Yorker a Wall Street Journal Report that said American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, agreed to pay her $150,000 for her story but then did not publish it.
David Pecker, the CEO and chairman of AMI, is a Trump supporter who has reportedly described the president as a “personal friend.”
Six former AMI employees told The New Yorker that Pecker often purchases a story in order to bury it — a tabloid industry practice called “catch and kill.”
In a statement provided to NBC News, AMI appeared to dismiss the report: “The New Yorker and Ronan Farrow’s suggestion that AMI engages in any practice that would allow it to hold influence over the President of the United States is laughable.”