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Trump 'KNEW about hush money payments to women who said they'd had sex with him'; The President is believed to have asked National Enquirer David Pecker for his help in buying Playboy model Karen McDougal's silence.

Byline: Christopher Bucktin

Donald Trumpdirectly asked for hush money to be paid to a Playboy model who alleged they had an affair - despite insisting he never knew, it is claimed.

Federal prosecutors probing the cash paid to former Playboy model Karen McDougal are believed to have found the President thanked the National Enquirer magazine for buying her silence.

The move could be a potential violation of strict campaign finance laws.

Today, the Wall Street Journal said the investigation into possible crimes found Trump had intervened directly to suppress alleged sexual encounters 'several' times.

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The billionaire businessman asked his then close friend David Pecker, the CEO of the tabloid magazine 's parent company American Media Inc, how he could help his campaign in August 2015.

Pecker told him he could buy the silence of women claiming sexual encounters with the then-candidate.

Shortly after American Media brokered a [pounds sterling]115,000 deal with McDougal after initial telling her it was only worth [pounds sterling]11,000.

Editors of the magazine, who were in constant contact with Pecker and Trump's then-attorney Michael Cohen, increased their bid ten-fold when they discovered the model was speaking to a TV station.

The payment was made by a direct request from Trump to Pecker.

Four days before the 2016 election, McDougal received the money.

American Media said at the time she had been paid for magazine covers and fitness columns and denied buying her story to protect Trump.

The President's campaign team pleaded ignorance when asked.

"We have no knowledge of any of this," Hope Hicks, Trump's then-spokeswoman, said of the McDougal deal.

Hicks, who discussed the matter with Trump before issuing the comment, was relaying what she had been told, according to people familiar with the conversation.

Trump also denied knowing of payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels who claims she had sex with him in 2006.

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The Wall Street Journal claimed the US leader was integral in both hush money deals.

Trump's involvement in the payments, by itself, wouldn't mean he is guilty of federal crimes, according to Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California.

A criminal conviction would require proof he willfully abused the law on contributions from companies or from individuals more than [pounds sterling]2,000 he said.

The prosecutors with the evidence are from the Southern District of New York, who are acting separately from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation.

In August Cohen pleaded guilty to finance campaign violations and awaits sentencing on December 12.

Pecker has since brokered a deal with investigators in return for information about the payments.

Although once close, Trump, Cohen and Pecker no longer speak.

The White House referred enquiries to Trump's outside legal team who were unavailable for comment.

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Credit: UPI / Barcroft Images

Donald Trump was directly involved in hush money payments, it is claimed

Credit: Getty Images North America

Playboy model Karen McDougal

Credit: REUTERS

American Media CEO David Pecker

Credit: Adam Gerrard/Sunday Mirror

Trump also denied knowing of payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels
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Title Annotation:News,Politics
Author:Christopher Bucktin
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 10, 2018
Words:536
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