A former Playboy model who claims she had a 10-month affair with Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit to be released from a 2016 agreement to stay silent. Like adult film actor Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal is arguing that her contract to not discuss her alleged relationship with Trump is invalid and she should be allowed to make her case in public court, not private arbitration.
McDougal is suing American Media Inc. – owner of the National Enquirer and Us Weekly – which paid her $150,000 in 2016 for the rights to her story, including claims that she had a relationship with Trump from 2006 to 2007. However, the media company never published the story, and McDougal claims Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was secretly involved in negotiations with AMI, whose CEO is a friend of the president. AMI has a reputation for buying rights to and then burying stories that might damage allies of the company’s CEO, David J. Pecker.
McDougal alleges in her lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court that she was pressured by all parties, including her own lawyer, to sign the agreement, which included a promise to help jump-start her career as a health and fitness model. Under the agreement, AMI was allegedly required to run more than 100 editorial pieces and at least two covers featuring her as part of a campaign to promote her fitness model career.
That said, an AMI spokesperson said that they have used 20 of McDougal’s columns and noted her top-selling 2017 cover of Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine as examples of their ongoing working relationship. The McDougal filing is just the latest legal woe to hit the Trump camp in recent weeks as the Clifford scandal consumes more oxygen.