According to a woman’s eight-page, handwritten account obtained by The New Yorker magazine, President Donald Trump had a nine-month extramarital affair with the 1998 Playboy Playmate of the year beginning in 2006, showing the woman his wife’s bedroom in Trump Tower and bringing her to his private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The woman, Karen McDougal, confirmed in the story published online Friday that she wrote the account but said she was constrained in what else she could say publicly about Trump because she’d signed a confidentiality agreement.
The story said McDougal was paid $150,000 during the 2016 presidential campaign for the rights to her story of an affair with any “then-married man” by the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which never ran it.
Just before Election Day, The Wall Street Journal reported that the tabloid, whose publisher, David Pecker, is a longtime friend of Trump’s, had paid for McDougal’s story but wasn’t printing it, a tabloid industry practice known as “catch and kill.”
Former staffers at American Media Inc., the company that publishes the Enquirer and other gossip sites, have told The Associated Press the company often bought the rights to unflattering stories about certain celebrities. The practice, described by six former employees who had participated in such deals, could give Pecker leverage over celebrities so that he could elicit future favors, such as appearing on his magazines’ covers.
The former staffers spoke on condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from disclosing company practices.
The company has approached McDougal about extending her contract barring her from talking about Trump in recent months as the behind-the-scenes negotiations to keep porn star Stormy Daniels’ allegation of a Trump affair have been made public, the magazine reported.
American Media has said it didn’t find McDougal’s account of an affair with Trump credible and paid her to write fitness columns. In a statement to The New Yorker, the company denied that having exclusive rights to McDougal’s story left it with any influence over the president, saying that contention “while flattering, is laughable.”
The White House said Trump denies having an affair with McDougal.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.