Former Playboy model sues to break silence on alleged Donald Trump affair

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While President Donald Trump makes moves to bolster his legal team amid reports that the special counsel investigation is moving closer to his finances and family members, his lawyers are likely to find themselves at least somewhat distracted by a wholly different subject, but one that could prove equally threatening: Trump's alleged conduct with women.

Clifford and McDougal tell strikingly similar stories about their experiences with Trump, which included alleged trysts at the same Lake Tahoe golf tournament in 2006, dates at the same Beverly Hills hotel and promises of apartments as gifts. It said she has been free to respond to press inquiries about her relationship with Trump since 2016 and that the suggestion that AMI silenced her was without merit. "Yet through all of it, AMI has continued to intimidate Ms. McDougal and threaten her with financial ruin if she tells her story to the American public - even as AMI itself has readily shared its own false account of both the relationship and its cover-up".

According to her lawsuit, McDougal understood that she would not be permitted to discuss her alleged affair with Trump, and that her story wouldn't be published either. She then had meetings with ABC, as the network was "interested in telling her story with dignity".

A mutual friend connected her to Davidson, who, she said, told her the story could be worth millions.

American Media is the parent company of the tabloid magazine The National Enquirer.

The complaint says that McDougal's own lawyer at the time helped mislead her during the negotiations. Unknown to Ms. McDougal, Mr. Davidson was working closely with representatives for Mr. Trump while pretending to advocate on her behalf.

Common Cause filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last month, claiming that AMI's so-called "catch and kill" payment to McDougal violated the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The lawsuit comes after adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, also filed a lawsuit earlier this month in an effort to void a nondisclosure agreement she says bars her from speaking publicly about her alleged affair with Trump more than a decade ago.

McDougal is asking the court to declare the agreement null and void, saying that she was tricked into signing it; that it was meant to illegally influence the 2016 election; and that it violates public policy against using threats of legal action to get someone to stay silent on issues of public concern. But, her suit says, Davidson and Howard argued in an urgent Skype call that the deal to promote her would "kick start and revitalize" her career, given that she was "old now". "She therefore asks this Court to declare that contract void".

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