The National Enquirer bought the rights to a former Playboy model's story about her 2006 affair with Donald Trump and then declined to publish it, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
American Media Inc., the company that owns the tabloid, agreed to pay $150,000 in August to Karen McDougal, who allegedly had a consensual romantic relationship with Trump in 2006, while he was married to his wife, Melania, the Journal reported, citing interviews with McDougal's friends, who say she told them about the affair. McDougal didn’t comment for the story.
In a statement, the company said it had not bought the rights to a specific story about her affair with Trump, but rather had bought exclusive life rights to stories about any relationship she has had with a then-married man, the Journal reported. The contract barred McDougal from telling the stories elsewhere and also included two years of her fitness columns and magazine covers.
"AMI has not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump," the company's statement said. Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks also denied the affair claim as "totally untrue."
The Enquirer, which endorsed Trump and has published negative stories about his opponents, has not published anything about the affair, nor have any other American Media publications.
The report comes after multiple women have accused Trump of inappropriately touching or kissing them in incidents spanning decades.