A former Playboy centerfold who alleged that she had an affair with President Donald Trump more than a decade ago said in a new interview that a purported effort to cover-up the story by the National Enquirer took her “rights away.”
The model, Karen McDougal, told The New Yorker that she felt like she could not so much as even mention Trump’s name after the Enquirer paid $150,000 for her story about the alleged affair and then withheld it from publication.
“At this point I feel I can’t talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about,” she told the publication. “I’m afraid to even mention his name.”
McDougal claims that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, while he was married to his current wife, first lady Melania Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2016 that American Media, Inc., the company that owns the Enquirer, paid McDougal $150,000 for her story about the alleged affair with Trump, and then never published it.
Instead, the company reached an agreement with McDougal to author a regular column about aging and fitness, though that deal largely went unfulfilled after Trump won the White House, according to the New Yorker.
AMI’s chairman and CEO, David Pecker, is friendly with Trump.
A White House spokesperson denied the alleged affair, calling the allegations from McDougal “fake news.”
“This is an old story that is just more fake news,” the spokesman told The New Yorker. “The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”
McDougal reportedly recorded her affair with Trump in a handwritten document obtained by The New Yorker. McDougal confirmed to the magazine that the handwriting was hers.
The former Playboy model’s comments on the alleged affair came roughly a month after The Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer for Trump, paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 not to go public with allegations that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2005.
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Cohen acknowledged in a statement to The New York Times this week that he did, in fact, pay Clifford $130,000, but insisted that the payment came from his own money.
“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in the statement. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”