Commentary

Manhattan DA Subpoenas AMI In Trump Hush-Money Probe

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office sent a subpoena to American Media Inc. (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer, as part of a probe into hush money paid to two women who claimed they had affairs with President Donald Trump.

State prosecutors also subpoenaed Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, to demand documents related to money used to buy the silence of pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, The New York Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

AMI declined to comment to multiple news outlets about the state investigation.

It’s not clear why the Manhattan DA is targeting AMI, although revelations from a federal probe offer some clues.

As part of a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, AMI last year admitted that it coordinated with the Trump campaign to make an illegal hush payment to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who also claimed to have an affair with Trump before he was president.

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The National Enquirer bought the rights to her story and never published it, a practice known as “catch and kill.” In the agreement with federal prosecutors, AMI reversed an earlier claim that the payment to McDougal was made for legitimate editorial reasons.

Perhaps AMI will reach a similar settlement with the Manhattan DA for cooperating with its investigation into the Trump Organization.

Federal prosecutors didn’t charge the Trump Organization with any wrongdoing and closed its investigation last month.

AMI faces other legal troubles after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accused the company of trying to extort him with threats to publish intimate photos in the National Enquirer, spurring an ongoing federal investigation.

AMI in April said it was selling the tabloid to James Cohen, whose family owns a magazine distributor and used to own the Hudson chain of airport newsstands.

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