American Media Inc. chairman David Pecker told prosecutors that President Trump knew about payments made to women who said they had sexual encounters with him, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The National Enquirer publisher provided prosecutors at the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office with details about the “hush money” payments arranged by Michael Cohen and also confirmed Trump’s knowledge of the transactions, according the newspaper.
On Wednesday, Cohen admitted in court that Trump had directed him to make payments to adult star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal in order to stop them from speaking out publicly about their affairs with the president.
The president’s former personal attorney pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes, including tax evasion and making false statements to a bank.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, sued the president in March, saying that a hush agreement she signed in October 2016 to prevent her speaking about her affair with Trump was void.
As previously reported by the Daily Beast, McDougal wasn’t paid directly by Cohen but rather through AMI, which paid $150,000 in 2016 for her life rights, then did not publish her story in order to kill it.
Cohen could receive up to 65 years in prison, according to CNN.
In the plea deal, Cohen said that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” he prevented information that would have been harmful to the candidate from going public.
His sentencing is set for Dec. 12.