Chairman of American Media Inc. David Pecker, the company that publishes the National Enquirer, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of the probe into President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to The Journal, Pecker, a longtime Trump ally, has shared details with prosecutors about hush payments made to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to buy their silence about sexual encounters they say they had with Trump before he became president. Pecker also gave prosecutors details about the president’s knowledge of the payments, according to the paper.
The Journal also reported that prosecutors have “indicated that Pecker won’t be criminally charged for his participation in the deals.”
TheWrap reached out to American Media. The Department of Justice declined to comment.
Prosecutors also indicated that Dylan Howard, AMI’s chief content officer, also won’t be criminally charged in the investigation, The Journal said.
On Tuesday, Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking federal campaign finance laws by coordinating payments to McDougal and Daniels in exchange for their silence. Cohen told the court he had made the arrangements at the direction of the president.
According to prosecutors, AMI execs were in on the deals. Pecker’s immunity status was first reported by Vanity Fair.
Pecker has been a close Trump friend for years and has been a frequent guest at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Prosecutors say Cohen revealed a tighter relationship between AMI and Trump than was previously known.
In August 2015, prosecutors contend, shortly after Trump announced his presidential bid, Pecker offered to help Cohen seize negative stories about then-candidate Trump’s relationships with women for the purpose of what’s known in the industry as “catch and kill,” where a publication buys the rights to a story and then burry them.