Former President Donald Trump, who has been impeached twice, was charged on Tuesday with 34 charges of falsifying corporate documents. Trump became the first ex-president to ever be charged with a crime for his involvement in the distribution of hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal.
What else was among these payments, too? Alvin Bragg, the district attorney for Manhattan, described a purported "capture and kill" operation on Tuesday involving a former doorman for Trump Tower who claimed to have information about a child former president Donald Trump fathered outside of marriage. This has now raised questions if Trump does have a child out of wedlock.
Silencing with Money
In a statement of facts submitted to the court, Bragg's office alleged that between August 2015, shortly after Trump declared his candidacy for president in 2016, and December 2017, Trump and his then-attorney Michael Cohen orchestrated a "catch and kill" scheme with David Pecker, the CEO of magazine publisher American Media, Inc., in order to hide unfavorable stories.
According to previously published claims, AMI allegedly paid Dino Sajudin, a former doorman at Trump Tower, $30,000 after he claimed to be aware of an affair that resulted in the birth of an illegitimate kid.
"In or about October or November 2015, the AMI CEO learned that a former Trump Tower doorman (the "Doorman") was trying to sell information regarding a child that the Defendant had allegedly fathered out of wedlock," the statement of facts reads.
"At the AMI CEO's direction, AMI negotiated and signed an agreement to pay the Doorman $30,000 to acquire exclusive rights to the story," the document states.
Difficult to Prove
According to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, AMI "falsely characterized this payment" in the company's financial records and bought the article from Sajudin "without fully investigating his claims" because of the deal Pecker struck with Trump and Cohen.
"When AMI later concluded that the story was not true, the AMI CEO wanted to release the Doorman from the agreement. However, Lawyer A [Cohen] instructed the AMI CEO not to release the Doorman until after the presidential election, and the AMI CEO complied with that instruction because of his agreement with the Defendant and Lawyer A," the statement of facts reads.
The National Enquirer, which supports Trump, paid out McDougal and Sajudin. In response, Sajudin's ex-wife referred to him as a "serial liar" and the former housekeeper who was being questioned denied ever having an affair with Trump.
After Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Sajudin was eventually released from his non-disclosure agreement with AMI. According to prosecutors, Trump was so appreciative of Pecker's assistance in burying the damaging story that he invited the CEO of AMI to his inauguration and to dinner at the White House.
"The Defendant thanked the AMI CEO for handling the stories of the Doorman and Woman 1 [former Playboy model Karen McDougal], and invited the AMI CEO to the Inauguration. In the summer of 2017, the Defendant invited the AMI CEO to the White House for a dinner to thank him for his help during the campaign," the court filing reads.
In his unsealed indictment against Trump, Bragg accuses him of engaging in an extensive "catch and kill" plot that included manipulating corporate documents on 34 felony counts.
Pecker and federal officials signed a non-prosecution deal in 2018, guaranteeing he wouldn't be charged for his involvement in the payoffs. The two-year statute of limitations has passed, thus he cannot also be charged with falsifying company records in relation to the Sajudin payment.