New York (AFP) – Tabloid newspaper the National Enquirer paid $30,000 to a former doorman at Trump Tower who claimed Donald Trump had a secret love child with his housekeeper, according to a report first published by The New Yorker on Thursday.
The New Yorker said it had found no evidence to back up the claim by doorman Dino Sajudin that Trump fathered the child, a girl, who would today be aged 29.
But the editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer Dylan Howard later acknowledged the payment in an article published by celebrity news site Radar Online, which is owned by the same parent group, American Media Inc (AMI).
AMI confirmed the payment when contacted by AFP.
Citing numerous anonymous sources within AMI, New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow said that after buying the exclusive rights to the story, the National Enquirer decided to bury it in order to protect Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election, a practice known as “catch-and-kill.”
AMI denied the charge, and said it chose not to publish the story because it was not credible.
The New Yorker added that sources within AMI said they believed catch-and-kill operations had cemented a “partnership” between Trump and David Pecker, the group’s CEO.
In February, The New Yorker published a story on an alleged relationship between Trump and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who says she received $150,000 from the Enquirer in August 2016 in return for her story, which also went unpublished.
The US president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has admitted to making a $130,000 payment before the 2016 election to an adult film actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to buy her silence about a sexual relationship she claims to have had with Trump.
Trump has denied having a relationship with either woman.
FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen’s New York offices and seized files relating to Cohen’s work, which included the $130,000 payment.