A former Playboy model who claimed she had an affair with Donald J. Trump sued on Tuesday to be released from a 2016 legal agreement requiring her silence, becoming the second woman this month to challenge Trump allies’ efforts during the presidential campaign to bury stories about extramarital relationships.
(Read the complaint.)
The model, Karen McDougal, is suing the company that owns The National Enquirer, American Media Inc., which paid her $150,000 and whose chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s. The other woman, the adult entertainment star Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, was paid $130,000 to stay quiet by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. She filed suit earlier this month.
Both women, who argue that their contracts are invalid, are trying to get around clauses requiring them to resolve disputes in secretive arbitration proceedings rather than in open court. Mr. Trump has denied the affairs.
Ms. McDougal, in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Mr. Cohen was secretly involved in her talks with A.M.I., and that the media company and her lawyer at the time misled her about the deal. She also asserts that after she spoke with The New Yorker last month after it obtained notes she kept on Mr. Trump, A.M.I. warned that “any further disclosures would breach Karen’s contract” and “cause considerable monetary damages.”
In an email to The New York Times, her new lawyer, Peter K. Stris, accused A.M.I. of “a multifaceted effort to silence Karen McDougal.”
Ms. McDougal filed her suit just days before Ms. Clifford was to appear on “60 Minutes” to discuss her relationship with Mr. Trump and the efforts Mr. Cohen undertook on his client’s behalf to pay for her silence.
Mr. Trump joined a legal effort last week seeking some $20 million in penalties tied to Ms. Clifford’s agreement.
Ms. McDougal is the second woman this month to challenge Trump associates’ efforts to bury stories of extramarital affairs.