WASHINGTON (CIRCA) - A former Playboy model has sued for her release from a legal agreement silencing her from discussing her alleged affair with President Trump, according to The New York Times.
The Times on Tuesday reported that Karen McDougal is suing American Media Inc., the company that owns The National Enquirer, over the 2016 pact.
Peter K. Stris, who is McDougal’s new lawyer, on Tuesday accused A.M.I. of “a multifaceted effort to silence” her.
“The lawsuit filed today aims to restore her right to her own voice,” he said in an email to The Times.
“We intend to invalidate the so-called contract that American Media Inc. imposed on Karen so she can move forward with the private life she deserves,” Stris added of the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
McDougal began speaking with A.M.I. representatives in spring 2016, shortly after Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination.
A.M.I. declined to buy McDougal’s account several days later, but ultimately displayed fresh interest in summer 2016 when she began speaking with ABC News.
Keith Davidson, who was then McDougal’s lawyer, informed her A.M.I. would buy her account but “not publish it,” according to Tuesday’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Davidson cited Trump’s friendship with A.M.I. chief executive David J. Pecker as part of the reasoning for not publishing McDougal’s story.
McDougal was offered a $150,000 payment, the suit notes, and promised cover articles and regular health and fitness columns promoting her fitness brand.
Davidson and Dylan Howard, A.M.I.’s chief content officer, eventually spoke with McDougal on August 5, 2016.
Revisit @RonanFarrow on the former Playboy model Karen McDougal's story, which provides a detailed look at the way Donald Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep his affairs out of the press: https://t.co/sHCI6VfPPx pic.twitter.com/ESZRKE3Vae— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) March 20, 2018
The pair told McDougal the contract would obligate A.M.I. to run more than 100 articles or columns and at least two covers featuring McDougal.
Tuesday’s lawsuit contends A.M.I. has since run one cover and about two dozen posts or columns featuring McDougal since she signed the deal on Aug. 6, 2016.
The filing additionally states that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, was secretly involved with McDougal’s talks with A.M.I.
Adult entertainment star Stormy Daniels filed suit earlier this month after Cohen paid her $130,000 not to discuss her alleged extramarital affair with Trump in 2016.
Daniels and McDougal both claim they had alleged trysts with Trump in 2006, ten years before he won the White House.
Trump has denied both affairs, and he joined a legal effort last week seeking about $20 million in penalties tied to Daniels’s agreement.