Free press: National Enquirer embroiled in federal investigation of payoffs to Trump accusers

Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker, April 12, 2018, writes that National Enquirer had a history of paying off those with stories of President Donald Trump’s dalliances. That history strengthens the case of Trump accusers, Stephanie Clifford and Karen McDougal who are suing with the claim that hush money paid to them were made to illegally influence the 2016 presidential campaign or violated the campaign finance law. The Enquirer claims any decision to withhold stories were protected by the First Amendment.

Trump has a long-standing close relationship with the National Enquirer with friends and associates in key jobs at the its publisher, American Media Inc. During his presidency the magazine has been an aggressive defender and advocate. Now a “federal inquiry [into Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the Enquirer] could pose serious legal implications for the president and his campaign committee. It also presents thorny questions about A.M.I.’s First Amendment protections, and whether its record in supporting Mr. Trump somehow opens the door to scrutiny usually reserved for political organizations,” write Jim Rutenberg, Emily Steel and Mike McIntire, The New York Times, April 11, 2018.

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