A former Playboy model filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Tuesday seeking to nullify a 2016 agreement preventing her from discussing an alleged affair she had with Donald Trump before his presidency.
According to the lawsuit, Karen McDougal contends she was misled into signing an agreement in 2016 with American Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer. AMI is controlled by David Pecker, a friend and supporter of Trump.
The lawsuit contends that AMI paid McDougal $150,000 for exclusive rights to her story for the purpose of keeping it out of the public eye — a practice known as “catch and kill” — to protect Trump.
“A quarter-billion-dollar company posing as a media organization systematically intimidated and silenced Karen McDougal in order to achieve its political and financial ends, and she will no longer be quiet,” McDougal’s attorney, Peter Stris, said. “Through efforts including the collusion of her own lawyer, AMI has consistently deceived and manipulated Ms. McDougal through an illegitimate contract.
“We are confident that the so-called contract will be invalidated, and are eager for Ms. McDougal to be able to move forward with her life with the privacy she deserves,” he said.
McDougal said AMI “lied to me, made empty promises and repeatedly intimidated and manipulated me.”
“I just want the want the opportunity to set the record straight and move on with my life, free from this company, its executives and its lawyers,” she said.
According to her lawsuit, McDougal had a 10-month relationship with Trump in 2006-07.
AMI officials could not be reached for immediate comment. The company told The New York Times — which broke the story of McDougal’s lawsuit — last month that it initially chose not to print her story when they first learned of her allegations last year because it could not verify important details.
But when she began talking to ABC News, AMI returned to her with the $150,000 payment for the purpose of buying her story, “but it would not publish the story” because of Pecker’s relationship with Trump, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that McDougal was “duped” by her then-lawyer, Keith Davidson, into signing the agreement.
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. She claims a non-disclosure agreement she signed over her own alleged affair with Trump is invalid because the now-president never signed it.
Daniels’ lawsuit, originally filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, was transferred Monday to federal court in downtown Los Angeles. Daniels also claims she had an affair with the married Trump in 2006-07, the same time as McDougal’s alleged relationship with him.
–City News Service
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