Karen McDougal, the former model who was paid $150,000 to stay quiet about her affair with President Donald Trump, sued Fox News on Thursday, alleging that host Tucker Carlson falsely accused her of extortion.
The slander lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, concerns a segment that aired in December 2018 in which Carlson alluded to payoffs to McDougal and to porn star Stormy Daniels.
“Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money,” Carlson said. “Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion.”
In the suit, McDougal says she never approached Trump to demand money. Instead, her attorney approached the National Enquirer in 2016 to sell her story. The Enquirer, then owned by American Media Inc., agreed to pay McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story.
Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, admitted that he had agreed to reimburse AMI on Trump’s behalf for the purpose of suppressing McDougal’s story.
“The payment to McDougal had nothing to do with extortion,” the lawsuit states.
The suit accuses Carlson of making up a false narrative to portray McDougal as a criminal. The suit accuses him of displaying actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth, and causing damage to her reputation.
In response, Fox News said it would “vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims.”