LOS ANGELES (CN) – A former Playboy Playmate settled with The National Enquirer in a California state court Wednesday, releasing her from a contract agreement that she says blocked her from sharing her story of an alleged affair with Donald Trump.
Wednesday’s settlement agreement ends Karen McDougal’s lawsuit and frees the 1998 Playmate of the Year to share her story of an alleged affair with Trump from 2006 to 2007 over a 10-month period.
In her lawsuit filed last month in Los Angeles Superior Court, McDougal said Trump “and his allies did not want news of the relationship to undermine his campaign.”
For more than a decade, McDougal says she did not hear from Trump. It was only until after he became the GOP presidential candidate was she contacted.
McDougal, 46, said that American Media Inc., publisher of tabloid The National Enquirer, worked with Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, described as his “fixer,” to buy her silence.
When news got out that McDougal was going to share the story of her alleged affair with Trump, the publisher acquired the rights to the story. The story was never published, according to her lawsuit.
Instead, as part of a $150,000 agreement, McDougal would appear on the cover of American Media’s fitness magazines and write a monthly column on fitness as part of an effort to rebrand her image, according to her lawsuit.
But McDougal said that the deal was a means to learn details about her story and relay those back to Trump, according to her initial complaint.
American Media has always held that McDougal was free to respond to press inquiries despite her saying otherwise in her lawsuit.
As part of Wednesday’s settlement agreement, American Media will share in the profits wherever McDougal takes her story, receiving $75,000 from whatever future deals she secures.
McDougal said her affair with Trump became public after another former Playboy model, Carrie Stevens, spilled the beans about McDougal’s relationship with Trump on May 7, 2016, in a series of public comments on Twitter.
McDougal said she then hired an attorney, Keith Davidson, so she could tell her story. She was told “the rights to publish her story were worth millions,” according to the lawsuit.
She met with a senior executive of American Media, who after interviewing her said the tabloid had no interest in purchasing her story.
McDougal said American Media worked with Cohen and was threatened with “financial ruin” if she did not honor her agreement. She claimed the publisher profited from her situation by leaking stories about McDougal’s account of the alleged affair.
American Media said in a statement they are “pleased that we reached an amicable resolution” and both sides got what they wanted. They added McDougal will appear on the September 2018 cover of Men’s Journal.
In a statement, McDougal’s Los Angeles-based attorney Peter Stris said, “We are glad that [American Media Inc.] has agreed to a settlement that restores Karen’s life rights to her, and makes right the wrongs that had been perpetrated against her.”