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National Enquirer paid doorman to keep Trump gossip quiet

13 April 2018

The Associated Press wrote that its reporters could not confirm that the rumor of the child was true - but more importantly, the AP was able to confirm that the doorman who then worked in Trump World Tower, Dino Sajudin, received the $30,000 payment from the tabloid in exchange for signing an agreement that he would never discuss the rumor.

Ronan Farrow, who reported the story for the New Yorker, told CNN Thursday, "We didn't uncover any evidence that this was real".

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. However, their names were not revealed by any reports out of concern for their safety. The action taken by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of NY came after a referral from Special Counselor Robert Mueller's team to the Justice Department for potential crimes committed by Cohen that was out of the scope of the Russian Federation probe. Another facet of the deal has drawn attention: Sajudin's contract with the National Enquirer also included a clause subjecting him to a seven-figure fine for taking the allegation to a competing outlet.

So how did the story see the light of day?

He said he was acting as a Trump spokesman when he did so and denied knowing anything beforehand about the Enquirer payment to the ex-doorman.

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Sajudin is now trying to sell the story, according to Enquirer's sister publication RadarOnline, which also published a few details of the payment and the deal. However, four longtime staff members of the Enquirer disagreed with this version of the report.

Enquirer staffers, however, told The New Yorker and the Associated Press that reporters were pulled off the story, which claimed Trump had fathered a love-child nearly three decades ago. They were also told to refrain from using investigative journalistic practices such as exhaustive stake-outs or tabloid tactics to get to the truth.

The New Yorker cited a source close to the White House insisting that Trump "did not have an affair".

"I spoke with the father of the family, who said that Sajudin's claim was 'completely false and ridiculous, '" Farrow continued, writing that the man complained "that the Enquirer had put the family in a hard situation". He added he did not "understand what they had to pay this guy for", and that by doing so, the Enquirer has put his family in a hard position.

The search warrant served on Cohen sought all communications he had with Trump and the Trump campaign about any "negative publicity" that might arise during the presidential campaign, according to a person familiar with investigators' work. AMI has said that McDougall did not produce the columns, according to the New Yorker.

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"I don't understand what they had to pay this guy for", he said.

So why did A.M.I pay Sajudin?

Speaking under condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, the National Enquirer staffers say it was highly unusual for their publication to shell out that much cash for the exclusive rights to a potentially massive report, only for higher-ups to call off the investigation before its completion.

And even if that is a coincidence, the fact that Sajudin faced such a stiff penalty for sharing what amounted to a rumor struck AMI employees as unusually severe.

The American Media Inc. released Sajudin's contract after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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National Enquirer paid doorman to keep Trump gossip quiet