American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of the National Enquirer, has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York and has admitted that controversial hush-money payments that may have violated campaign finance laws were coordinated with the Trump campaign.
AMI admitted that it paid $150,000 to a woman “in concert with” President Trump’s 2016 campaign “in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.”
The National Enquirer paid 150,000 in 2016 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, to purchase the exclusive rights to her story about an alleged affair she had with Trump. The Enquirer then never ran the story.
AMI made the purchase “to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election” according to prosecutors.
The Hill adds:
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in August to facilitating a $150,000 payment at the same time as the National Enquirer payment, in violation of campaign finance laws.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors said that this payment, and a separate one to another woman alleging an affair with Trump, was made “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump.
AMI chief David Pecker, a longtime friend of Donald Trump, has been granted immunity by prosecutors.
Excerpt from the U.S. Southern District of New York press release:
The Office also announced today that it has previously reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, in connection with AMI’s role in making the above-described $150,000 payment before the 2016 presidential election. As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election. AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.
Assuming AMI’s continued compliance with the agreement, the Office has agreed not to prosecute AMI for its role in that payment. The agreement also acknowledges, among other things, AMI’s acceptance of responsibility, its substantial and important assistance in this investigation, and its agreement to provide cooperation in the future and implement specific improvements to its internal compliance to prevent future violations of the federal campaign finance laws. These improvements include distributing written standards regarding federal election laws to its employees and conducting annual training concerning these standards.