Anatomy of a Crime: Sex, Hush Money and a Trump Fixer’s Guilty Plea
The federal campaign finance and tax evasion case that is embroiling the White House began in the unlikeliest of places: the world of supermarket tabloids. It is populated by porn stars and Playboy models, shadowy “story brokers” and the ultra rich and powerful, who can buy back their secrets on an underground exchange run by gossip scribes who set the rules, the prices and, frequently, the reputational toll.That world has now come to life on the stark pages of federal court documents that detail violations of campaign finance and tax laws, implicating President Trump and reprising Watergate-era talk of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and possible impeachment.
Mr. Trump had an ally in the nation’s biggest tabloid news publisher, American Media Inc., which controls nearly every gossip magazine on checkout counter racks throughout the country, and is a magnet for people with embarrassing tales to sell about the rich and the famous. “A media entity can talk with a campaign about coverage as part of its media function,” said Trevor Potter, a founder of the Campaign Legal Center who helped write part of the campaign finance law.
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