The National Enquirer's publisher is cooperating with New York prosecutors, telling them that it paid one of the women alleging she had an affair with President Trump $150,000 and did so specifically to prevent her from influencing the election.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Wednesday that prosecutors reached a non-prosecution agreement with American Media, Inc., theEnquirer's publisher, and that as part of this agreement, AMI says it "made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election," per NBC News.
Karen McDougal, a model, says she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, which Trump denies. Prosecutors also say AMI has admitted the "principal purpose" of paying McDougal was to "suppress" her story and "prevent it from influencing the election."
This news comes after Trump's ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison in part due to his role in violating campaign finance laws by paying McDougal in order to keep her silent about an alleged affair. Cohen did not pay McDougal directly but rather made arrangements for AMI to purchase the rights to her story but not publish it.
Two nooses were found hanging at the Mississippi State Capitol, and police are currently reviewing surveillance video as part of an investigation, WLBT reports.
In addition to the nooses, pictures of which have been published online, what WLBT describes as several "hate signs" were also found. It's not yet clear what might have been written on these signs, and police have provided no other details. WAPT reports that a total of six signs were found.
This comes one day ahead of Mississippi's Senate run-off election, during which incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is fending off a challenge from Democrat Mike Espy. Normally, Hyde-Smith's victory would be considered a slam dunk, but her campaign has been engulfed in a number of controversies over the past few weeks, which began when she said of a supporter, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." Hyde-Smith later said this was simply an "exaggerated expression of regard," per The Washington Post, but the explanation didn't sit well with many, including Walmart, which pulled its support and asked for its donation back.
Democrats have jumped on Hyde-Smith's remarks in the final stretch of the election in hopes of driving turnout, especially among black voters. Espy, who if elected would be the first black Senator from the state since Reconstruction, said in a debate last week, "We can't afford a senator who embarrasses us and reinforces the stereotypes we've worked so hard to overcome." Trump is set to hold two rallies in support of Hyde-Smith on Monday. Brendan Morrow