Who is Karen McDougal? Key witness in Trump's hush money trial - Hindustan Times
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Who is Karen McDougal? Key witness in Trump's hush money trial

Apr 24, 2024 05:50 PM IST

Donald Trump was secretly taped by his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, discussing payments to Playboy model Karen McDougal.

As Donald Trump's hush money trial enters week two lawyers are gearing up to interrogate witnesses, and on top of the list is former Playboy model, Karen McDougal.

Donald Trump was secretly taped by his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, discussing payments to Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom he allegedly had an affair, and the recording is in FBI hands.(AFP)
Donald Trump was secretly taped by his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, discussing payments to Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom he allegedly had an affair, and the recording is in FBI hands.(AFP)

Although Trump's charges don't directly implicate Karen, her potential testimony adds intrigue to the trial.

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Who is Karen McDougal?

Karen is a former Playboy model and claims she had an affair with Trump for 10 months in 2006. He has been accused of getting his lawyer Michael Cohen to negotiate a ‘catch and kill’ deal with McDougal via US tabloid National Enquirer. It's been alleged that tabloid paid the playboy model $150,000 for the rights to her story, which Trump tacitly funded through Cohen.

Unaware of the specifics of the deal Karen later sued the tabloid which was also fined $187,500 by the Federal Election Commission for issuing the payment with the intent of influencing the election.

"AMI (owner of National Enquirer) lied to me, made empty promises and repeatedly intimidated and manipulated me," McDougal said in a statement. "I just want the opportunity to set the record straight and move on with my life, free from this company, its executives and its lawyers."

How will Karen's testimony impact Trump's case?

National Enquirer's former owner David Pecker will be questioned over tabloid's “catch-and-kill” strategy which focussed on company's tactic of routinely paying for scandalous stories that it didn’t publish. These stories included anti-Trump stories that were purchased and not published.

As AMI CEO, in 2015 Pecker allegedly met Trump and his personal lawyer, Cohen, to “help deal with negative stories about Trump” by purchasing them and not publishing them.

Facts around Karen's story will prove prosecution's argument that Trump had been working hand in glove with tabloids to scuttle negative news.

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