The prosecution against Donald Trump centers around a payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, but there is another woman involved in the case.
Known as “Woman 1,” evidence suggests that this woman is Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model who, like Daniels, alleges she had an affair with Mr. Trump.
Although he denies this, McDougal claims that the affair lasted 10 months. In this article, we will explore what we know about McDougal and her involvement in the case.
Karen McDougal was born in Gary, Indiana, but grew up in Michigan. She started her modeling career in her twenties, participating in swimwear competitions. She then joined Playboy, where she won the coveted Playmate of the Year title in 1998 and was voted “Playmate of the 90s,” second only to Pamela Anderson.
Later, McDougal worked as a fitness model, becoming the first woman to appear on the cover of Men’s Fitness magazine in 1999. Additionally, she made appearances in TV commercials and minor acting roles, including an uncredited cameo in the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels.
Ms. McDougal claims that in 2006 she met Mr. Trump, who was then married, at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles while he was recording an episode of The Apprentice. She states that Mr. Trump showed an immediate liking to her and the two started seeing each other five times a month for a 10-month relationship, which she described as consensual and loving.
In 2016, Ms. McDougal signed a $150,000 agreement with the National Enquirer, which prohibited her from publicly discussing the alleged affair. However, the article was never published, and she claims that she was tricked into silence about the relationship. This is known as a “catch and kill” practice, where negative stories about Mr. Trump were suppressed.
In 2021, the US Federal Election Commission found that the National Enquirer violated election laws by paying for the rights to Ms. McDougal’s story and never publishing it. The money paid to Ms. McDougal was considered an illegal campaign contribution, and the National Enquirer was fined $187,500.
Ms. McDougal describes herself as a model, columnist, advocate, and spokesmodel, focusing on the awareness of breast implant illness. She publicly apologized to Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, in 2018, stating that she was sorry for the alleged affair and knew it was a wrong thing to do.
The details of Ms. McDougal’s involvement in the case are contained in the district attorney’s statement of facts as background information. Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all counts in the indictment, which is solely focused on the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. Mr. Trump has always denied having an affair with Ms. McDougal.