A former doorman at one of US President Donald Trump’s buildings was reportedly paid $30,000 to keep quiet about a child Trump had out of wedlock with a former housekeeper.
"Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement that I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press," the doorman, Dino Sajudin, said in a statement obtained by CNN.
"I can confirm that while working at Trump World Tower I was instructed not to criticize President Trump's former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child."
Earlier the Associated Press confirmed the details of the Enquirer’s payment through a review of a confidential contract and interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc (AMI).
AP reported AMI had made a $30,000 deal with Sajudin in exchange to the rights “in perpetuity” for a rumor the former doorman had heard about Trump having a child through an affair with his housekeeper. The 2015 contract also subjected him to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone.
The publisher of the National Enquirer, AMI, pushed back hard Thursday after the payment report saying it "categorically denies" the allegation at the center of the bombshell story.
However, Enquirer staffers who spoke with AP and other media said the abrupt end to reporting combined with a seven-figure penalty to stop the tipster from talking to anyone led them to conclude that this was a so-called “catch and kill” – a tabloid practice in which a publication pays for a story to never run, either as a favor to the celebrity subject of the tip or as leverage over that person.
One former Enquirer reporter, who was not involved in the Sajudin reporting effort, expressed skepticism that the company would pay for the tip and not publish.
“AMI doesn’t go around cutting checks for $30,000 and then not using the information,” said Jerry George, a reporter and senior editor for nearly three decades at AMI before his layoff in 2013.