National Enquirer publisher agrees to cooperate with prosecutors

American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York, the Department of Justice announced in a statement on Wednesday.

AMI admitted that it paid $150,000 to a woman "in concert with" President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE's campaign "in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election."

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Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, was paid $150,000 in 2016 by publishers of the National Enquirer for exclusive rights to her story about her alleged affair with Trump. The Enquirer then never ran the story.

The National Enquirer purchased the rights to McDougal's story "to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election" according to prosecutors, who did not refer to McDougal by name.

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in August to facilitating a $150,000 payment at the same time as the National Enquirer payment, in violation of campaign finance laws.

Earlier this month, federal prosecutors said that this payment, and a separate one to another woman alleging an affair with Trump, was made "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump.

Cohen was sentenced to 36 months in prison Wednesday for a variety of offenses, including the payments.

Because of their cooperation, AMI will not be prosecuted for its role in the payment. 

AMI has pledged to distribute to employees "written standards regarding federal election laws" and "to provide cooperation in the future" to prosecutors, according to the agreement announced on Wednesday.