Watchdog alleges Trump, The National Enquirer publisher violated campaign finance law

AMI also reportedly paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 in August 2016 for her story about a nine-month affair with Trump. The contract said that the ex-doorman could face a penalty of $1 million if he were to squeal about the rumor of Trump's love child with an employee at Trump World Tower.

Trump's alleged hush money prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to raid Michael Cohen's office, hotel room, and home in order to search for evidence about the payments, which potentially could violate campaign finance laws.

Four veteran National Enquirer workers say that in 2016 they were pressured to quit investigating a claim put forward by Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at Trump World Tower, that Trump had fathered a lovechild with an unnamed staff member in the late 1980s.

"When we realised we would be unable to publish, and other media outlets approached the source about his tale, we released Sajudin from the exclusivity clause that had accompanied his US$30,000 payment, freeing him to tell his story to whomever he wanted", Howard told RadarOnline.com, a sister publication of the Enquirer.

Stormy Daniels was paid US$130,000 for a non-disclosure agreement.

So while some have rightly noted that the upshot of a violation of federal election laws could result in nothing more than a fine by the Federal Election Committee, it's entirely possible, based on the reporting available, that the Southern District of NY likely has far more damning information regarding possible corrupt practices on the part of Michael Cohen than just election law violations.

Common Cause, a nonpartisan ethics group, has filed complaints with the Justice Department and Federal Election Commission alleging that the payments to McDougal and Daniels were illegal campaign contributions.

"Secret payments to hide affairs may have been commonplace in the president's previous life as a tabloid figure, but when he became a candidate for the presidency, any new payments to safeguard his candidacy became violations of federal law", said Paul S. Ryan, the vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause. The National Enquirer never ran her story either and only ran a small portion of the columns that were agreed to.

Trump has denied having a relationship with either woman.

The New Yorker reported that soon after it contacted AMI for comment on the story, the company's celebrity gossip website, Radar Online, published its own story about the scandal and the payment to Sajudin.

Staffers at an American tabloid claim they were told not to pursue a tip alleging the existence of an illegitimate child born to Donald Trump and a housekeeper at one of his properties, despite the magazine paying United States $30,000 to the story's source. "In addition, AMI and Mr. Pecker emphatically deny any suggestion that there might have been any "partnership" created which might influence any business ties in regard to AMI".

"You know I took a polygraph test", he said, adding that he believes his story was buried as part of a larger strategy by the tabloid to quash negative articles about Trump. Ultimately, he said the information "lacked any credibility", so he spiked the story on those merits.

  • Jacqueline Ellis