Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, is suing the company that owns the National Enquirer to let her out of an agreement that paid her $150,000 so she wouldn’t talk about an alleged 10-month relationship with Trump, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
In the complaint, she said the agreement should be void because “there was fraud in its execution, the object of the contract is illegal, and the contract violates fundamental public policy.”
In taking her case to the court system, McDougal joins adult actress Daniels, who filed a lawsuit against Trump earlier this month to let her out of a nondisclosure agreement that paid her $130,000 but she says was invalid because Trump never signed it.
McDougal gave her story to the National Enquirer in exchange for the money, but the publication engaged in what is known as a “catch and kill,” in which the tabloid never actually runs the story. David Pecker—the CEO of American Media Inc., which owns the Enquirer—is known to be friendly with Trump, and he reportedly spiked stories that showed his friends in a poor light.
In her lawsuit, McDougal says she didn’t know about Pecker’s friendship with Trump or the “catch and kill” practice when she was originally negotiating her deal in 2015. She says when she renewed negotiations in 2016, she was informed of Pecker’s friendship and the idea AMI would buy her story but not run it.
She also alleged that the lawyer she used to negotiate the deal was colluding against her the entire time with AMI and Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen.
AMI told the Times that it did not print the story because it could not verify all of its details.
According to the lawsuit, McDougal was promised, along with the money, that she would be featured on the media company’s magazine covers and would run her columns about health and fitness. Though McDougal said she didn’t love the idea of signing the contract, she eventually did. Now, she alleges was misled by AMI.
“Now that she has become aware of the broad effort to silence and intimidate her and others, Ms. McDougal must speak out,” reads her complaint, filed Tuesday in Superior Court in Los Angeles. “She will no longer allow AMI to profit from and control her with a fraudulent and illegal contract. She therefore asks this Court to declare that contract void.”
Trump has not yet responded to the new lawsuit. Although he’s denied the extramarital affairs, the president’s lawyers said Daniels violated her nondisclosure agreement 20 times, meaning she owes him $20 million.
H/T New York Times