According to the New Yorker, several AMI employees spent weeks investigating the rumor that Sajudin allegedly heard from high-level Trump Organization employees before orders came down from Pecker to shutter the investigation. But like McDougal's, the story also never ran, and the parallels with the McDougal and Stormy Daniels payments certainly raise questions about whether the payment was simply an effort to kill it to benefit Trump's campaign - and whether there was any coordination between AMI and Trump attorney Michael Cohen or the Trump campaign.
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. Still, "unhinged Twitter rants are not how you respond to federal investigation, it's how you escalate a global military conflict", Colbert said, reading Trump's hot-and-cold tweets about lobbing missiles at Syria and Russian Federation.
Did Donald Trump secretly father a child out of wedlock in the 1980s and have a friendly media organization pay $30,000 to prevent a former employee from speaking out about it? The deal included a $1 million penalty should Sajudin tell his story to anyone else without A.M.I. permission.
The story posted to the hoax website Action News 3 claims Trump was struck with a tire iron last summer outside Trump Tower in NY.
AMI executive Dylan Howard, who now serves as the Enquirer's chief content officer, told reporters last summer that executives supposedly made the payment to Sajudin in order to secure the tip, which he said would have sold "hundreds of thousands" of magazines.
The National Enquirer has also denied that Trump and Cohen had any role in its decision to squash the doorman's story, citing that the story's lack of credibility led it to be shelved.
Multiple sources tied to American Media, Inc. "I knew that I couldn't talk about any alleged affair with any married man, but I didn't really understand the whole content of what I gave up", McDougal said.
Six former A.M.I. employees told me that [AMI Publisher and Trump friend David] Pecker routinely makes catch-and-kill arrangements like the one reached with McDougal.
On Monday, the FBI raided Cohen's offices, and federal authorities are investigating possible financial or election law violations. The sizable payout for an unsubstantiated rumor also raised eyebrows.
After hearing about the New Yorker's story on Sajudin, Radar Online, a sister publication to the Enquirer, published a story Wednesday saying editors at the Enquirer believed Sajudin's story was not true. Both outlets acknowledged, however, that they were unable to prove the story. While he frequently calls reports from mainstream companies "fake news", Trump has had a relatively positive relationship with AMI, which has generally published articles to his liking. According to the outlet, longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen also knew about the matter and spoke with the tabloid before it ultimately chose to quash the story.