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Tabloid execs get immunity to talk about Trump payments: Reports

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Washington, United States | Fri, August 24, 2018 | 08:58 am
Tabloid execs get immunity to talk about Trump payments: Reports This combination of pictures created on March 27, 2018 shows (from left) US President Donald Trump at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on January 18, 2018; Jared Kushner attending a Cabinet meeting at the White House on March 8, 2018; Donald Trump Jr. attending the State of the Union address on January 30, 2018; adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels attending the 2018 Adult Video News Awards on January 27, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Karen McDougal attending Playboy's Super Saturday Night Party at Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida on February 6, 2010. A porn star is suing the president. A former Playboy model has apologized to the first lady for sleeping with her husband. The eldest son is divorcing and the scandal-clad son-in-law's security clearance has been downgraded. Seventeen months after Hillary Clinton told America that the one thing she respected about Donald Trump was his (AFP/-)

 

Prosecutors have granted immunity to two executives at the National Enquirer tabloid for testimony about President Donald Trump's involvement in payoffs to silence women about his liaisons, media reports said Thursday.

The reports said immunity had been given to Enquirer chief executive David Pecker, a longtime Trump friend, and the newspaper's chief content officer Dylan Howard.

The Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc. did not respond to an AFP inquiry on the reports.

The two could offer evidence on Trump's knowledge of payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, according to the reports in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN.

The executives at the supermarket tabloid were some way involved in both hush money deals, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper said that the executives would not face criminal charges in the investigation into possible violations of campaign finance laws and Trump's involvement in the scheme.

Bringing a media company into the investigation could prompt concerns over the First Amendment or press freedom. But several reports said the newspaper may not be able to use that defense because it was acting more as a political operation than a news organization.

The New York Times said the company did not challenge the subpoena and agreed to cooperate where they deemed First Amendment rights were not violated.

The revelations come days after Cohen implicated Trump in pleading guilty this week to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to the two women, who said they had had affairs with the Republican candidate.

Although Cohen did not name them, the women were believed to be Daniels and McDougal.

Because the hush payments were intended to influence the outcome of the elections, they violated US laws governing campaign contributions, putting Trump in legal jeopardy.

Trump claimed in a Fox News interview that his former lawyer "made the deals," and insisted that Cohen's actions were "not a crime," while going on to claim that "campaign violations are considered not a big deal, frankly."

The president then said the hush payments were financed with his own money -- to which Cohen had access -- and that while he had no knowledge of them at the time, he had since been fully transparent.

 

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