Trump discussed hush payment to Playboy model Karen McDougal with David Pecker, jurors hear

US

David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer, testified Tuesday that he paid Karen McDougal — a former Playboy model who alleges she had an affair with Trump — for the rights to her story and spoke with former President Donald Trump about the risks of it coming out.

Speaking at Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan, Pecker testified he learned of the McDougal allegation in 2016 and that the then told Trump fixer Michael Cohen about it. Later, Pecker said, he received a phone call from Trump himself, asking what Pecker thought he should do.

At that point, Pecker said he informed Trump that McDougal had an offer to perform on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and that he thought the Republican candidate should pay her off. Trump was hesitant at first, said Pecker, who recalled the former president saying: “Anytime you do something like this, it always comes out.” It was only when Pecker kept insisting that Trump decided to clue in his personal fixer, Michael Cohen, promising Pecker that he’d call again in a few days, the publisher testified.

Pecker and Cohen would soon begin communicating regularly, with Pecker saying Cohen told him to start using to use an encrypted messaging app, Signal, instead of speaking on a landline.

Despite his involvement in the story, Pecker claimed he is still in the dark about whether or not the affair with McDougal actually happened. “I still to this day don’t know whether that’s true or not,” he said.

 

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