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World Publisher law by paying to suppress another trump story, filing alleges

The publisher of The National Enquirer faced new claims Thursday that it violated campaign finance laws after news outlets reported that the company paid $30,000 to a Trump World Tower doorman

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US President Donald Trump at a White House meeting on agriculture with governors and members of Congress play

US President Donald Trump at a White House meeting on agriculture with governors and members of Congress

(AFP)

The watchdog group Common Cause filed complaints with the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, saying the 2015 payment, for a tip that never resulted in a published story, was intended to influence the 2016 election.

Common Cause previously filed similar complaints about a $150,000 deal the tabloid news company struck for the rights to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story of an alleged affair with Trump — which it never ran — and over the $130,000 that the president’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, paid to the pornographic-film star Stephanie Clifford for her story about an affair with Trump.

The new complaint was based on reports that the doorman, Dino Sajudin, was peddling an unsubstantiated allegation that Trump had fathered a child with a Trump Tower employee in the late 1980s. American Media Inc., The Enquirer’s publisher, ordered a halt to reporting soon after it paid $30,000 for Sajudin’s story, effectively silencing him, according to the reports.

Those accounts, in The Associated Press and The New Yorker, followed an article about the deal with Sajudin on Wednesday in one of American Media’s own outlets, RadarOnline. The article said that Sajudin passed a lie-detector test affirming that he believed the story about Trump and the woman — which was based on secondhand information — but that his allegations ultimately did not check out.

On Thursday, American Media released another statement, saying “AMI categorically denies that Donald Trump or Michael Cohen had anything to do with its decision not to pursue” Sajudin’s story. “The suggestion that David Pecker has ever used company funds to ‘shut down’ this or any investigation is not true,” it added, referring to AMI’s chairman, who is a close friend of Trump.

Sajudin put out his own statement Thursday, saying, “Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement that I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

THE NEW YORK TIMES © 2018 The New York Times

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