Former Playboy model Karen McDougal files lawsuit to speak on Donald Trump affair

  • 21/03/2018
Karen McDougal i
Karen McDougal is contesting an arrangement to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Trump. Photo credit: Getty

A former Playboy model who said she had an affair with US President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit in California to release her from a legal agreement requiring her to stay silent.

It makes her the second woman this month to contest an arrangement to keep quiet about an alleged extramarital relationship with Trump.

Karen McDougal filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, which paid her $US150,000 (NZ$208,000) in 2016 to keep quiet on the matter, according to a copy of the lawsuit provided by her lawyer, Peter Stris.

The lawsuit comes a month after the New Yorker reported on the alleged affair and a move by American Media to pay McDougal for exclusive rights to her story, which it never published.

The New Yorker article noted that American Media head David Pecker has described Trump as a "personal friend".

"AMI lied to me, made empty promises, and repeatedly intimidated and manipulated me," McDougal, who was Playboy magazine's 1998 Playmate of the Year, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I just want the opportunity to set the record straight and move on with my life, free from this company, its executives, and its lawyers."

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, sued the president on March 6, stating that Trump never signed an agreement for her to keep her quiet about an "intimate" extramarital relationship between them. Daniels received $US130,000 under that agreement.

Stormy Daniels
Stormy Daniels Photo credit: File

Earlier this week, a law firm representing Trump and the corporation that paid Daniels said in a court filing it was seeking at least $US20 million in damages for multiple violations of the non-disclosure agreement.

Meanwhile a New York state judge says US President Donald Trump must face a defamation lawsuit by a woman who accused him of sexually harassing her after she appeared on his former reality TV show.

The decision by Justice Jennifer Schecter of the New York state court in Manhattan in favour of California restaurateur Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC's The Apprentice, raises the prospect that Trump might have to answer embarrassing questions in court about his behaviour towards women.

She rejected Trump's claim that he was immune from being sued, finding "absolutely no authority" to dismiss litigation related "purely to unofficial conduct" solely because he occupied the White House.

"No one is above the law," the judge wrote.

Mariann Wang, one of Zervos' lawyers, said in a statement on Tuesday: "We are grateful for the opportunity to prove that that defendant falsely branded Ms. Zervos a phoney for telling the truth about his unwanted sexual groping."

 A White House representative was not immediately available for comment on the ruling.