The National Enquirer paid President Donald Trump’s doorman $30,000 to stop him publicly speaking out about a rumour Trump fathered a love child, it has emerged.
Dino Sajudin told the magazine of a rumour alleging Donald Trump fathered an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations in New York.
However, four former staffers at The National Enquirer have claimed they were told to stop pursuing the story by top editors.
Another former reporter expressed scepticism the publishing company would pay such a large figure for the tip and not produce a story.
Mr Sajudin reinforced his claim in a statement given on Thursday 12 April, saying:
Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press.
I can confirm that while working at Trump World Tower I was instructed not to criticize [sic] President Trump’s former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.
The women involved, who remains unnamed, had denied the affair which is alleged to have occurred in the 1980s.
If the story turns out to be true, it would mean Trump has a sixth child around 30 years of age, which would put him or her older than Tiffany Trump but younger than Eric Trump.
Dylan Howard, the Enquirer‘s editor, said he made the payment to secure Mr Sajudin’s commens, because the tip, if true, would have sold ‘hundreds of thousands’ of magazines.
Ultimately, he said the information ‘lacked any credibility’ so he spiked the story.
Meanwhile the Enquirer contract subjected Mr Sajudin to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumour or the terms of the deal to anyone, according to RadarOnline, a sister publication of the National Enquirer.
The Enquirer‘s chief executive, David Pecker, is a good friend of Mr Trump and US media has previously reported on a so-called ‘catch and kill’ tactic used at the magazine’s publisher, American Media Inc (AMI), whereby unfavourable stories were purchased and never published.
AMI also bought the exclusive rights to a story from former playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with Mr Trump, shortly before the 2016 election.
Ms McDougal said she was offered $150,000 for the information but the National Enquirer never published her story. Mr Trump has denied the affair occurred.
AMI has previously dismissed suggestions it has acted on political motivations:
The suggestion that AMI holds any influence over the President of the United States, while flattering, is laughable.
In a statement, AMI said it categorically denies Donald Trump or Michael Cohen had anything to do with its decision not to pursue a story about a ‘love child’ 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 has not yet responded to requests for comment.