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Donald Trump is facing a new scandal.
According to an investigation by The New Yorker, a former Trump World Tower doorman named Dino Sajudin told a reporter of American Media Inc. (A.M.I.), publisher of the National Enquirer, that Donald Trump had fathered a child with a former employee in the late 1980s. While Sajudin’s ex-wife tells the NY Daily News that Sajudin has a vivid imagination and is a “liar,” there’s some smoke.
According to The New Yorker, Sajudin signed a contract with A.M.I. stipulating they retain the exclusive rights to the information he had provided. He was given $30,000 for his efforts, and A.M.I. began investigating his claims shortly after. According to six former and current A.M.I. employees—who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation—Sajudin provided the names of the mistress and her child. He passed a lie-detector test, as well, in which he stated that Trump’s head of security, Matthew Calamari, told him about the affair. Naturally, the Trump Organization has denied this allegation. The mother of Trump’s alleged daughter denied the claims, too, with the father of that family saying “I don’t understand what they had to pay this guy,” and that Sajudin’s claims were “completely false and ridiculous.”
Reports of A.M.I. buying exclusive rights to stories that could potentially hurt Trump, and then burying them, aren't new. In August of 2016, the company allegedly purchased the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about a supposed 9-month affair she had with Trump. She was paid $150,000. In October of that year, Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, paid Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) $130,000 to stay silent on her alleged affair with Trump. Though Cohen isn’t officially affiliated with A.M.I., two former employees of the company told The New Yorker they believe Cohen was in close contact with A.M.I., particularly as the company’s reporters were investigating Sajudin’s claims. “Cohen was kept up to date on a regular basis,” one source said.
The recent F.B.I. raid of Michael D. Cohen’s office, which The New Yorker claims was largely focused on seizing payment records related to McDougal and Clifford, in addition to any communications between Cohen and A.M.I. CEO David Pecker—who allegedly told his company’s reporters to stop investigating Sajudin once he was paid. “There’s no question it was done as a favor to continue to protect Trump from these potential secrets,” said one A.M.I. employee. “The aforementioned catch-and-kill process is simple: buy the exclusive rights to a potentially damaging story, and never publish it. In Sajudin’s case, there was reportedly a million dollar penalty should he disclose any of the information he sold A.M.I.
The White House declined to comment on the matter, with one source reportedly stating plainly that Trump “did not have an affair. This is a totally false accusation. And I’d refer you to A.M.I.” One of the lead A.M.I. reporters investigating the claims, Sharon Churcher, also believes they’re false. “I do not believe that story was true,” Churcher said. “I believed from the beginning it was not true.”
According to the NY Daily News, Sajudin’s ex-wife, Nikki Benfatto, is confident he made it all up. “He’s infamous for making up stories” she said. “He’s seen the chupacabra. He’s seen bigfoot. One of our friends who passed away, he saw him too, walking down the street.” Meanwhile, Sajudin himself seems overwhelmed at the attention he’s been getting. “It’s a bit much, you know? It wasn’t supposed to be out there anyway though,” he said. “Two days everything was normal. Now it’s crazy. It’s a bit much.” Sajudin told The Washington Post, "It seems like the writing is on the wall about that, it’s pretty clear," adding that the story “had to come out.”
As The New Yorker reports, Sajudin has been involved in accusations that turned out to be false, before. In 2014, Sajudin apparently made comparable allegations about Trump Tower resident Lawrence Penn III, but it was found those were untrue. Penn is currently serving six years in prison for securities fraud. Intrestingly, Sajudin declined to comment any further after he realized The New Yorker doesn’t pay its sources. “My time is valuable. What’s your offer??” He wrote in an email.