Ex-Playboy model alleging Trump affair wants to nix contract that "controlled her life," lawyer says

Lawyer on McDougal's alleged Trump affair

A new lawsuit by former Playboy model Karen McDougal claims people close to President Trump colluded with her lawyer to keep her silent about an alleged 2006 affair that lasted 10 months. McDougal accepted $150,000 from American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of several tabloid publications including the National Enquirer. She sold her story, and in return, expected chances to write and model.

AMI said McDougal "has been free to respond to press inquiries about her relationship with President Trump since 2016. Thus, the suggestion that AMI 'silenced' her is completely without merit."

"Now AMI takes the position that she can, and we're thrilled.... But the reality is, their private position is very different. And for over a year, they've made her terrified," Peter Stris, McDougal's current lawyer, told "CBS This Morning." "So after the New Yorker Ronan Farrow story came out, they said, any further disclosures will breach the contract and lead to significant monetary damages. And we all know what that means. You get sued for $20 million."

AMI's CEO, David Pecker, is a close friend of the president's. The tabloid is known for a tactic called "catch and kill"  -- a practice where publishers pay for negative stories in order to bury them. McDougal alleges that her lawyer at the time of the deal with AMI, Keith Davidson, was coordinating with Mr. Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.  

"There's plenty of evidence. In the first instance, we know he represented Stormy Daniels and another woman in direct hush deals. Karen had no idea he was representing them, that those deals were happening and then more recently the New York Times has reported that in Karen's deal itself, the day it was signed, he emailed Michael Cohen and they got on the phone and he said 'the deal is done.' And that's remarkable because this deal happened in one day. She was close to having a deal with ABC where she was, for no money, going to go and tell her story. And her lawyer brought her back to AMI and in a day said 'hey we gotta get this signed.' A contract that she didn't understand," Stris said.

A spokesman for Davidson issued a statement saying, "Mr. Davidson fulfilled his obligations and zealously advocated for Ms. McDougal to accomplish her stated goals at that time."

Shortly after Ms. McDougal filed the suit, CNN announced Anderson Cooper would interview her on Thursday. Though the company is allowing her to speak out now, Stris said that McDougal's desire to be free of the contract has more to do with "future moments."

"It's taken care of this week while we're in the news. But they have these rights in perpetuity," Stris said. 

According to Stris, McDougal's desire to speak out has nothing to do with politics. He said she voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. 

"She wants out from under the thumb of this organization that has effectively controlled her life for over a year. That's what this is about."