“Told you so.”
That’s what Peter Stris had to say about the news that National Enquirer CEO David Pecker was granted immunity by federal prosecutors on Thursday in exchange for information about a payoff of his former client Karen McDougal.
“To all media asking our firm to comment on #NationalEnquirer publisher #DavidPecker getting immunity from prosecution in exchange for corroboration of his collusion w #MichaelCohen + @realDonaldTrump in silencing #KarenMcDougal, here is our official statement: ‘Told you so,'” he tweeted.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper pointed to Stris’s remarks and called him “Attorney for 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year,” and Stris clarified that his representation of McDougal has ended and his words were his own.
McDougal has not commented.
Earlier Thursday, Law&Crime explained why Pecker’s immunity deal might be more damaging to Trump than anything Michael Cohen has said so far.
Cohen, of course, pleaded guilty to multiple charges on Tuesday and said candidate Donald Trump “directed” him to commit campaign finance violations.
While Trump claims that the payments did not come out of campaign finances but from him, federal prosecutors say the payments were made to influence the 2016 election. In other words, the feds say it was a campaign contribution. Pecker’s information could very well clear up exactly what Trump’s role was, at least in the case of McDougal.
Law&Crime reported in July that the feds were looking into Trump and Cohen’s payments to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump in the past. American Media Inc. (AMI) is the publisher of the National Enquirer and they paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 for her story about a relationship she said she had with Trump from 2006 to 2007.
The deal gave AMI the rights to the story, which they chose to sit on, effectively keeping the allegations under wraps. The deal also included an arrangement for McDougal to publish columns in AMI’s publications, which she claims they did not fulfill.
As Law&Crime’s Ronn Blitzer noted at the time, “[I]f AMI and Cohen were working together for the Trump campaign’s benefit, that could put the publisher in jeopardy for possibly violating campaign finance law. The payment for McDougal’s story–and her silence–could be viewed as an in-kind contribution, well beyond the maximum amount allowed.”
That is exactly how it is being viewed now.
[Image via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Playboy]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]