NEW YORK – Manhattan prosecutors looking into Donald Trump’s role in paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels are also looking into a $150,000 payment to a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with the former president, the Wall Street Journal exclusively reports.
Since January, Mr. Trump’s involvement in a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels has been the subject of information that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has presented to a grand jury. During those proceedings, Mr. Bragg’s prosecutors extensively questioned grand jury witnesses regarding an earlier agreement involving Karen McDougal, who was named Playmate of the Year by Playboy Magazine in 1998 and who has claimed that she started a 10-month relationship with Mr. Trump in 2006.
Prosecutors might use any McDougal evidence to either bring charges specifically linked to the McDougal payment or to show an alleged pattern of behavior by Mr. Trump. Participants claim that Mr. Trump played a crucial part in the transactions with both women.
The National Enquirer publisher had exclusive rights to Ms. McDougal’s account of an affair with Mr. Trump after she signed a deal with the publisher in August 2016. In order to remove Ms. McDougal’s story from circulation and stop her from sharing it elsewhere, Mr. Trump’s longtime supporter, American Media Corp., purchased it.
In January, Mr. Pecker, the former CEO of American Media, was among the first witnesses to testify before the grand jury. Last week, he made a second appearance.
The grand jury evidence presented by Pecker has linked Mr. Trump to the payment to Ms. McDougal as well as to an alleged larger plot to bury articles that were damaging to Mr. Trump during his 2016 campaign.
The former president can be accused of taking part in the silence of both women. It could possibly be the cause of the grand jury’s delay.