A former Trump Tower doorman was reportedly paid $30,000 in late 2015 for his signing over the rights to a story about an unsubstantiated rumor that President Donald Trump fathered a child with a former employee, multiple outlets reported.
The doorman, Dino Sajudin, released a statement Thursday confirming that he had an agreement with tabloid publisher American American Media Inc. regarding the story.
Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement that I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press. I can confirm that while working at Trump World Tower I was instructed not to criticize President Trump's former housekeeper due to a prior relationship she had with President Trump which produced a child.
Sajudin's law firm, Held & Hines, later told NBC News that Sajudin's lawyers sent the statement, and that he has not released the information that is being leaked to news outlets.
On Wednesday, Radar Online, a sister publication of the Enquirer, revealed that Sajudin, was given the money for the rights to his story in late 2015, as Trump was running for president. However, Sajudin's account was not published by American Media, the owner of both Radar and the Enquirer, until Wednesday, long after Trump became president.
Sajudin's deal is at least the second case in which AMI is known to have paid for rights to a story about an extramarital affair about Trump that it did not publish.
In March, former Playboy model Karen McDougal who says she had an affair with Trump, sued AMI seeking to void her own alleged $150,000 exclusivity deal.
Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election for what she has said was her silence about an affair with Trump a decade earlier.
The New Yorker magazine and the Associated Press had reported earlier Thursday that the woman that Sajudin referred to was an employee at Trump World Tower, located near the United Nations building in Manhattan.
The AP said the woman emphatically denied that she ever had an affair with Trump. She also told the news organization that she didn't know that AMI had paid Sajudin and pursued the tip. "This is all fake," the woman told AP. "I think they lost their money."
AMI's chief content officer, Dylan Howard, said in a statement: "It is a disconcerting view of the level of hysteria and partisanship in American politics that not reporting a story that multiple media outlets have now also confirmed to be untrue has become headline news."
"Paying for information has long been a practice of The National Enquirer and to suggest that it has only paid for, and not run, stories about any particular person is absurd," Howard said. "The fact that no other news organization has subsequently been able to validate the story after AMI released the subject from his exclusivity clause confirms the basis for our editorial decision."
Lawyers for Cohen did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment, nor did representatives for the Trump Organization or the White House.
AMI, which is led by Trump friend David Pecker, denied that Trump or Cohen played a role in its decision not to run the story.
"AMI categorically denies that Donald Trump or Michael Cohen had anything to do with its decision not to pursue a story about a 'love child' that it determined was not credible," it said in a statement. "The suggestion that David Pecker has ever used company funds to 'shut down' this or any investigation is not true. In addition, AMI and Mr. Pecker emphatically deny any suggestion that there might have been ... any 'partnership' created which might influence any business ties in regard to AMI. These claims are reckless, unsubstantiated, and false."
Cohen told the AP that he had discussed the rumor with the National Enquirer, although he denied knowledge of the payment to Sajudin.
On Monday, FBI agents seized records relating to the payment that Cohen made to Daniels shortly before Election Day 2016, among other materials relating to possible settlements and agreements related to Trump.