Out of all of the stories surrounding Donald Trump and women this election season, one reported Friday night by The Wall Street Journal may be the strangest of all. The paper claims that this past August, the National Enquirer, owned by avowed Trump pal David Pecker, bought former Playboy model Karen McDougal's story of an affair with the presidential candidate for $150,000.
But it seems they bought the story only to make sure it didn't get anywhere else. In a maneuver known in the tabloid world as "catch–and–kill," the Enquirer purchased the rights to the story forever—thus preventing McDougal (pictured above) from sharing it elsewhere—but never ran it.
The Journal says that "people familiar with the matter" confirmed both that McDougal thought her story of a 2006-7 "consensual romantic affair" with Trump would be published, and that the Enquirer had no intention of ever doing so. The tabloid's parent company, American Media Inc., acknowledges that it paid McDougal, but says the money was for "two years’ worth of her fitness columns and magazine covers as well as exclusive life rights to any relationship she has had with a then-married man," according to the WSJ. Unsurprisingly, no columns by McDougal have yet been published.
McDougal's lawyer for the deal, Keith Davidson, showed documentation that he represented his client for "claims against Donald Trump and or assisting client in negotiating a confidentiality agreement and/or life rights related to interactions with Donald Trump and/or negotiating assignment of exclusive press opportunities regarding same."
AMI claims it "has not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump," and Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that McDougal's claim of an affair was "totally untrue."