The Trump administration remains a monument to irony, due to the fact that the president supported by vast majorities of the religious right in the United States has been revealed over the years to have carried on with an array of extramarital affairs. One of those affairs — with former Playboy model Karen McDougal — has recently assumed a position of prominence in the national political conversation, thanks to McDougal suing to be free from a legal agreement restricting her from talking about the experience.
Now, The New York Times is reporting, McDougal has won that legal battle and has been successfully freed from the agreement with American Media Inc. The agreement had already been amended so as to allow her to respond to “legitimate press inquiries” about her situation without possible retribution from AMI; now, however, she’s completely free from it.
The agreement was first entered into back in August 2016, when AMI bought the rights to McDougal’s story for $150,000. The problem is that the Trump-allied media company never actually ran anything about the story, instead preferring to just bury it.
Now, with the agreement no longer in force, McDougal is allowed to keep the $150,000 payment, while AMI retains the rights to up to $75,000 of potential future profits made off her story, according to her lawyer Peter K. Stris.
Stris told The Times:
‘It’s a total win. We got everything we were fighting for — she got out of the contract, gets the life rights back and owes A.M.I. nothing more.’
With the settlement agreement unfolding as it has in McDougal’s case, the president himself has evaded yet another line of potential scrutiny, since Stris had plans to “ask to submit written questions to Mr. Trump” in addition to plans to “ask for several internal documents” from AMI that could shed some light on the negotiations surrounding the now dissolved agreement.
The allegations from McDougal that AMI had used deceit to pressure her into the now dissolved contract include allegations that Trump attorney Michael Cohen had been secretly involved in the negotiations.
AMI and McDougal’s former lawyer Keith Davidson did, in fact, both get in touch with Cohen towards the end of the negotiating process. For the settlement agreement in question to have been reached between McDougal and AMI means that he also is evading a line of potential legal scrutiny that could add to his already numerous problems.
Just last week, the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room searching for documents related to, among other topics, the AMI deal with McDougal. Cohen, it’s since come out, has been under criminal investigation for months.
Stris expressed confidence that Cohen would be held accountable for any wrongdoing he was getting out of facing consequences for in McDougal’s case. He told The Times that he has “tremendous confidence in the men and woman of the Southern District of New York,” which is the entity responsible for the criminal investigation into the Trump lawyer.
Besides the issue with the payment to McDougal, which could have constituted an illegal campaign expenditure since it was meant to prop up the president’s campaign, Cohen is also facing scrutiny perhaps most prominently for the hush money payment he facilitated to the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels, who also allegedly had an affair with the president. The two of them were in attendance at the same court hearing about the case this past Monday.
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