The FBI raid on the offices of Trump lawyer-fixer Michael Cohen may have implications between just providing evidence for criminal prosecutions. It may have also provided information about other lawsuits Cohen was involved in.
Former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal reached a settlement Wednesday with American Media (AMI), the publisher of such esteemed periodicals as the National Enquirer. The negotiated settlement was a total win for McDougal because it lets her talk and write as much as she wants about her long sexual relationship with President Trump. Not only that, but she gets to keep the $150,000 previously paid to her by AMI.
It is no mere coincidence that right after the FBI raid AMI settled with McDougal, giving her everything she asked for, and more. It is generally believed now that the Cohen raid provided the FBI evidence that helped McDougal and supported her case.
Cohen wasn’t a defendant in McDougal’s lawsuit, but it was alleged that he worked together with with AMI to try to keep her silent.
With Cohen’s help, AMI bought the legal rights to the story about Trump, and then decided not to run the story. McDougal’s case is one of two such situations where AMI bought the legal rights to a story about Trump’s love life and then did not publish it. Obviously this was of great benefit to Trump during the presidential campaign, and may even have affected the outcome, allowing Trump to win the presidency.
The New York Times reported that documents and other evidence obtained in the Cohen raid “included information about A.M.I. and the McDougal suit, people involved in the case said.”
This seems to indicate that AMI was very worried about what the FBI found, and thus they decided to dispose of the McDougal lawsuit right away.
But here is the major risk for Trump: McDougal is expected to write a “tell all” book about her affair with Trump, and it is expected to make millions of dollars. Under the terms of her deal with AMI, they will share in the profits with McDougal, so it could be very lucrative for AMI.
According to the Washington Post, “The tabloid company is entitled to 10 percent of any profit McDougal makes from reselling the rights to her story within the next year, up to a maximum of $75,000, according to a copy of the settlement terms. In addition, AMI has the right to publish five health and fitness columns under McDougal’s byline and to feature her on the cover of Men’s Journal. Cameron Stracher, general counsel for AMI, said the company intends for McDougal to appear on the September 2018 issue of the magazine.”
In the past AMI has spent a LOT of money to STOP publication of potentially explosive stories about Donald Trump’s personal life. That may not continue in the future.
If AMI makes a lot of money from their deal with McDougal, the company may decide that they will change their policy and start publishing the Trump stories instead of killing them. Presumably at this time the public would have an insatiable appetite for the gory details of Trump’s sexual liaisons in the past.
If AMI decides to start publishing the Trump stories in order to make huge profits for the company, this would be a complete turnaround that would anger Trump and cause him (and the Republican Party) a great deal of embarrassment.
The Cohen raid may have set in motion a change in policy for tabloid reporting about Donald Trump, and if it does, his political future will be over.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.