The Manhattan grand jury looking into Donald Trump’s alleged involvement in a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels has reportedly heard evidence about a separate financial transaction with another woman who allegedly had an affair with the former president.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has presented the grand jury with evidence involving the former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims to have had an extramarital affair with Trump beginning in 2006.
As the Journal first reported in 2016, the parent company of the National Enquirer, which endorsed Trump’s first presidential bid, agreed to pay McDougal $150,000 for her story about the alleged affair. But the tabloid ultimately did not publish McDougal’s account, effectively quashing the story in an industry tactic known as “catch and kill”.
The incident bears key similarities to the handling of Daniels’ story about her alleged sexual encounters with Trump beginning in 2006. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, gave Daniels $130,000 for her story in 2016, and that transaction was not publicly reported until 2018. Cohen has said that Trump reimbursed him for the payment, but the former president denies involvement in the hush money scheme, and he has dismissed the allegations of affairs with Daniels or McDougal.
The grand jury hearing evidence about the McDougal payment raises the possibility of Trump facing additional charges over the incident, or prosecutors may cite the transaction to establish a pattern of hush money schemes on the former president’s part.
The grand jury was expected to deliver a potential indictment of Trump this month, but that announcement has repeatedly failed to materialize. The jury will reportedly consider other matters next week before adjourning for a previously scheduled two-week break, so the announcement of an indictment is not expected to come until late April at the earliest.
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