On Thursday morning, both The New Yorker and Associated Press ran tandem stories about how the famously Trump-friendly National Enquirer paid off a former Trump Tower doorman $30,000 for a “catch and kill” type of story alleging that Trump fathered an illegitimate child with an employee in the late ’80s. Dino Sajudin met with a reporter with American Media, Inc. (which owns the Enquirer) in 2015 about five months after Trump announced his presidential campaign, with second-hand accounts he claims he heard through Trump’s head of security, Matthew Calamari, and other high-level Trump employees.
Sajudin was paid $500 down to take a lie detector to confirm that he was telling the truth about what he had heard, which he passed. At that point he was paid the full amount for the rights to his story, and the Enquirer promptly stopped pursuing it. Ronan Farrow was able to track down the alleged mother and now-adult child at the center of the claims for the The New Yorker, who both declined to comment for the story and their identity has not been revealed out of respect for their privacy.
Whether or not Trump fathered an illegitimate child in the late ’80s (while he was still married to Ivana, who he would later go on to cheat on with his second wife Marla Maples) is not the takeaway here. Instead, that A.M.I. has a pattern of buying, then burying, unfavorable stories about Trump — particularly leading up to the 2016 election. It’s also common knowledge that Trump is close personal friends with David Pecker, the chairman and C.E.O. of A.M.I.
Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who allegedly carried on an affair with Trump in 2006 around the same time as his alleged tryst with Stormy Daniels, was likewise paid $150,000 by A.M.I. for the rights to her story, which never ran, and she is currently suing to break her silence.
Although Sajudin’s $30,000 pales in comparison to McDougal’s, the kicker is a clause that subjects him to a $1 million penalty should he break his contract with A.M.I., which later claimed that his story was bogus.
The Associated Press confirmed the details of the Enquirer’s payment through a review of a confidential contract and interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc. Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, “in perpetuity,” to a rumor he’d heard about Trump’s sex life — that the president had fathered an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations. The contract subjected Sajudin to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone.
Farrow writes that thirty minutes after The New Yorker contacted A.M.I. for comment about the payment, Radar Online, which is owned by A.M.I., posted a story acknowledging that the payment had been made to Sajudin, but that his story had been determined to be false.