Karen McDougal sues Fox News over alleged slander

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE years before he entered the White House, is suing Fox News for slander, alleging Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonThe ghosts of the Bernanke-Yellen Fed continue to haunt Americans Is the coronavirus igniting a war of all against all? 74 journalism professors accuse Fox News of spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE damaged her reputation.

The suit filed in New York state court claims Carlson falsely accused McDougal of extortion on his show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Dec. 10, 2018, and shared false information that she “approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money.”

Carlson is not named as a defendant. 

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McDougal denies she participated in extortion to receive the $150,000 payment and said in the lawsuit that Carlson misled his viewers by saying that he was reporting “undisputed facts.” The suit alleges Carlson’s comments were “intentionally false and made with reckless disregard for the truth.”

“Had Carlson done any investigation or responsible reporting or journalism, he would have easily discovered that what he and FOX NEWS published about MCDOUGAL was and is demonstrably false,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit details how media executive David Pecker and Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump's self-interest is at odds with safe coronavirus policy Judge rejects Michael Cohen's plea for early prison release amid coronavirus Michael Cohen cites 'absence of presidential leadership' over coronavirus in effort to move to home confinement MORE negotiated with McDougal to buy her silence about her affair. 

McDougal said in the suit that the people she negotiated with “never once mentioned, implied or otherwise indicated that MCDOUGAL extorted Trump.”

A Fox News Channel spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that “FOX News will vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims.” 

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The Hill reached out to McDougal's lawyer for comment.

Trump, when he was a candidate, was involved in the effort to silence McDougal and adult-film star Stormy Daniels about their extramarital affairs, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.

Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and campaign finance law violations stemming from these payments last year.