Former Playboy model tells CNN Trump offered to pay her for sex at the start of 10-month affair
McDougal said she and Trump had sex dozens of times without using protection after the relationship began in Los Angeles in June 2006, not long after his wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims to have had a 10-month affair with US President Donald Trump starting in 2006, told CNN’S Anderson Cooper 360 in an interview broadcast on Thursday night that she was in love with Trump.
McDougal said their first sexual encounter was at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel and that afterwards he offered her money, which she rejected.
“After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn’t know how to take that,” she said, according to an excerpt of the interview released before the broadcast. “I looked at him and said, ‘That’s not me. I’m not that kind of girl.’ And he said, ‘Oh,’ and he said, ‘You’re really special’.”
McDougal added that “it hurt me that he saw me in that light”.
McDougal had feelings for Trump, but the affair was “just tearing me apart,” she said.
McDougal said she and Trump had sex dozens of times without using protection after the relationship began in Los Angeles in June 2006, not long after his wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron.
McDougal apologised when she was asked what she would say to Melania Trump.
“What can you say except, I’m sorry?” McDougal said. “I’m sorry. I wouldn’t want it done to me.”
She said she met Trump at the Playboy Mansion during filming of Celebrity Apprentice, a TV series in which he starred.
Asked if Trump ever said he loved her, McDougal said: “ All the time. He always told me he loved me.”
When asked if she thought this would lead to a marriage, McDougal said: “Maybe.”
“There was a real relationship there. There were real feelings,” she said. “He would call me baby or he would call me ‘beautiful Karen’.”
“I was attracted to him. He’s a nice looking man. I liked his charisma,” she said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the interview, McDougal was expected to discuss her relationship with Trump and her new lawsuit against American Media Inc (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer, which bought the rights to her story three months before the 2016 election but did not publish it. The suit claims that her former lawyer, Keith Davidson, worked secretly with AMI and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as “part of a broad effort to silence and intimidate” her.
The complaint also alleges, without providing specifics, that Davidson had helped “catch and kill” other stories that would have been damaging to Trump.
In a letter to her new lawyer, Peter Stris, Davidson said: “The complaint and various media appearances portray an incomplete and misleading depiction of the facts, circumstances and communications related to my prior representation of Karen.” Any further disclosures, Davidson said, “will be deemed to be a complete express waiver of the lawyer-client privilege”.
Stris responded on Thursday in writing: “We disagree with multiple statements in your letter, but are writing to acknowledge that we have received it. We hope that you will comply with your ethical responsibilities.”
AMI has denied any wrongdoing and has said the contract with McDougal is valid.
McDougal is asking the court to declare her contract with AMI void, saying her story about Trump “is core political speech entitled to the highest protection under the law”.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, comes two weeks after another woman, adult film actress Stormy Daniels, sued Trump to invalidate her own confidentiality agreement. Daniels’ deal was with Cohen, who has said he “facilitated” a payment of US$130,000, using his own money. Cohen has sought to keep Daniels quiet through private arbitration, alleging in a court filing that she could owe as much as US$20 million for violating the agreement.
Lawyers for Daniels on Thursday demanded that the Trump Organisation and two banks preserve messages, documents and financial records they say relate to that payment.
“We intend on using all legal means at our disposal to uncover the truth about the cover-up and what happened,” Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer, said in a statement. “And this is but one of many tools we will use. When we are done, the truth will be laid bare for the American people.”
In a letter to the Trump Organisation’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten, Avenatti argued that the company has “unmistakable links” to the lawsuit. He asked the business to retain any messages Cohen exchanged regarding Daniels, along with banking records, account histories and text messages or emails that could relate to Trump and Daniels’s alleged relationship.
Garten did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter. Cohen has said the Trump Organisation was not involved in the deal with Daniels.
The letter to the Trump Organisation also claimed that in February, Cohen “attempted to interfere” with Daniels’ ability to hire Avenatti, who has sought to push the deal into the public eye. Avenatti declined to comment further, and Cohen did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the letter or Avenatti’s claim.
Avenatti also on Thursday asked First Republic Bank and City National Bank, the banks involved in the US$130,000 transaction, to retain records relating to the payment. Representatives for the banks declined to comment.
The lawsuits by McDougal and Daniels are not the only court cases involving Trump and women that could present the president with legal and political challenges. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that a defamation lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, could proceed, potentially allowing her lawyers to collect evidence supporting her claim that Trump forcibly kissed and groped her years ago.