A former doorman at one of Donald Trump’s properties was paid $30,000 by the National Enquirer for the rights to a story about the man who would become president of the United States fathering a love child in the 1980s, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
“Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement that I had with A.M.I. (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press,” former doorman Dino Sajudin said in a statement to CNN.
“I can confirm that while working at Trump World Tower I was instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.”
Sajudin had received $30,000 late in 2015 from American Media, Inc., which is the National Enquirer’s parent company, in order to retain the rights to his story “in perpetuity.” Sajudin would have faced a million dollar penalty if he broke the agreement.
The Associated Press reported that the man worked at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper owned by Trump that’s close to the United Nations building in Manhattan.
Several outlets reported that while the Enquirer tried to authenticate Sajudin’s claim — including through a polygraph test — the tabloid found that he “lacked any credibility,” according to AMI executive and Enquirer editor Dylan Howard.
However, investigators are now zeroing in on the story because of “new questions about the roles that the Enquirer and Cohen may have played in protecting Trump’s image during a hard-fought presidential election,” according to the AP.
The Enquirer also paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 for her story about a nine-month affair with Trump. Much like Sajudin’s story, they also say they found McDougal’s claim lacked credibility.
The Enquirer’s payments were part of the FBI’s raid on Trump attorney Michael Cohen earlier in the week, as federal investigators were seeking information about communication between Cohen and individuals at AMI.
Cohen said that he had talked to the Enquirer during their research on the story, but only acting as a spokesman for Trump.
For his part, Howard says that he bought the tip because it would have sold “hundreds of thousands” of copies of the Enquirer if the story were true.
“Unfortunately … Dino Sajudin is one fish that swam away,” Howard told Radar Online, a publication owned by AMI. “When we realized we would be unable to publish, and other media outlets approached the source about his tale, we released Sajudin from the exclusivity clause that had accompanied his $30,000 payment, freeing him to tell his story to whomever he wanted.”
Even The New Yorker, in a piece that heavily insinuates that AMI was acting to kill stories on Trump during the campaign season, acknowledged that “(t)exts and e-mails from November of 2015 show that, before reporting was halted, the National Enquirer team was pursuing leads and trying to confirm Sajudin’s story.”
The story notes that reporters from the tabloid had staked out the home where the woman alleged to have had an affair with Trump lived with her daughter and hired a private investigator, who was the one that administered the lie detector test to Sajudin.
They also added that sources within AMI told them that Sajudin remarked it would be “a very merry Christmas” after he signed the agreement and that when The New Yorker reached out to Sajudin, he responded with an email saying “My time is valuable. What’s your offer??” The father of the family has called the story “ridiculous,” and even The New Yorker acknowledges they have no information that indicates Trump fathered the child.
As for whether or not AMI had been involved with a payoff deal, one hopes that investigators actually had evidence of this before they raided Cohen’s office to look for documents that proved it.
The closest that The New Yorker’s piece on Sajudin’s agreement — which is the most in-depth, if perhaps the most biased — got to proving some sort of collusion between AMI and Cohen is two employees who thought that Cohen was in close contact with executives over the story, the same way he had been with other stories pertaining to Trump.
That’s not exactly proof of collusion, to use everyone’s favorite word when discussing all investigations Trump-related. Also, unless we find out that Stormy Daniels is actually Natasha Fatale, it’s not exactly related to the Russia investigation — which, last I checked, was the original reason why Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel.
It’s a grubby story all around, and we’ll certainly see how it develops. However, much like everything that’s come out in the wake of the Cohen raid, it rests mostly on speculation and innuendoes than facts. Even The New Yorker, not necessarily known for their objectivity on matters related to our 45th president, concedes that there are serious holes in Sajudin’s credibility.
I do know one thing, however: When money is involved, people are willing to say the darnedest things. Whether or not that was the case here — or whether the Enquirer paid Sajudin simply to silence him — remains to be seen.
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