Deal lets tabloid avoid U.S. charges over hush money in 2016 election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The writer of the National Inquirer tabloid newspaper has reached a take care of U.S. prosecutors in New York to avoid charges over its position in paying hush money to a lady earlier than the 2016 U.S. presidential election, prosecutors mentioned on Wednesday.

Former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal has mentioned she had a months-long affair with U.S. President Donald Trump years earlier than he took workplace, and that she bought her story for $150,000 to American Media Inc [AMRCM.UL] but it surely was by no means printed. The incident concerned a observe often called “catch and kill” to forestall a probably damaging article from being printed.

In an announcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District mentioned it agreed to not prosecute AMI after the corporate admitted “that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.”

Prosecutors introduced the settlement on the identical day that Trump’s former private lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to 3 years in jail in federal courtroom in New York for orchestrating hush funds to McDougal and one other girl, adult-film star Stormy Daniels, in violation of marketing campaign legal guidelines earlier than the election, in addition to different crimes.

AMI’s chief govt David Pecker, a longtime buddy of Trump and Cohen, had met with prosecutors to explain their hush-money offers with McDougal and Daniels forward of the 2016 U.S. election received by Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported in August.

Pecker and one other AMI govt have been granted immunity as a part of prosecutors’ probe, Vanity Fair additionally reported over the summer time.

Representatives for AMI and Pecker couldn’t be instantly reached for remark.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Richard Chang and Will Dunham

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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