The National Inquirer in late 2015 paid a former Trump World Tower doorman $30,000 for the rights to a “rumor he’d heard about Trump’s sex life” — and then never ran a story, according to the Associated Press.
Dino Sajudin told the Enquirer that he had heard that Trump, then a candidate for the presidency, had fathered a secret love child 29 years ago with an employee, according to National Inquirer sister publication Radar Online. The unidentified woman vehemently denied she had an affair with Trump to the AP and the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow, who also published a report about the payment.
Radar first reported that Sajudin was paid the fee in late 2015 for his story and then never published a story. The AP has confirmed the payment was made.
“The Associated Press confirmed the details of the Enquirer’s payment through a review of a confidential contract and interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc.,” the AP wrote on Thursday. “Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, ‘in perpetuity,’ to a rumor he’d heard about Trump’s sex life — that the president had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations.”
Sajudin was subject to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal, per the AP’s investigation.
Update: Sajudin released a statement on Thursday, obtained by CNN producer Sonia Moghe, in which he said he was “instructed not to criticize President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.” These instructions were dispatched to him when he worked at Trump World Tower, he said.
The former TT doorman stands by his story of Trump’s alleged affair. pic.twitter.com/QkY8RBfYnB
— Sonia Moghe (@soniamoghe) April 12, 2018
Enquirer Editor-In-Chief Dylan Howard defended the payment as well as the decision not to publish, saying that its reporters had failed to substantiate the story.
“When we realized we would be unable to publish, and other media outlets approached the source about his tale, we released Sajudin from the exclusivity clause that had accompanied his $30,000 payment, freeing him to tell his story to whomever he wanted,” Howard told Radar. “Many organizations have since tried … including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Associated Press.”
“The latest is Ronan Farrow from The New Yorker, who is calling our staff, and seems to think this is another example of how The Enquirer, by supposedly ‘catching and killing’ stories about President Trump is a threat to national security,” Howard continued. “We’re flattered by this attention, and wish that it were true. Unfortunately, however, Dino Sajudin is one fish that swam away.”
“A disconcerting view of the level of hysteria and partisanship in American politics that not reporting a story, that multiple media outlets have now also confirmed to be untrue, has become headline news,” Howard said in a statement issued Thursday.
In its own statement, AMI also “categorically” denied that Trump or his attorney Michael Cohen “had anything to do with its decision not to pursue a story about a ‘love child’ that it determined was not credible. The suggestion that David Pecker has ever used company funds to ‘shut down’ this or any investigation is not true.”
The White House did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s request for comment on this story.
The story comes amid renewed attention on AMI and Trump, including a federal inquiry into the company relationship with Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, whose offices were raided by the FBI on Monday.