American Media Inc. is having a strange week.
The media company, best known for owning the National Enquirer, cornered the market on celebrity tabloids with its purchase of InTouch, Life & Style and Closer from Germany’s Bauer and a subpoena by federal prosecutors in Manhattan has been revealed in the span of five days.
An AMI spokesman would not comment on specifics of the subpoena, but confirmed a Wal Street Journal report that it came sometime in April and alluded to the possibility of protecting itself from the probe via the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“American Media Inc. has and will continue to comply with any and all requests that do not jeopardize or violate its protected sources or materials pursuant to our First Amendment rights,” the spokesman said.
A representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Manhattan could not be immediately reached for comment.
Possible trouble for AMI, and for its chairman and chief executive officer David Pecker, has been a topic of conversation among media insiders recently, as the investigation into President Trump’s former personal attorney Michel Cohen gets more expansive. Trump and Pecker are longtime friends and the latter has allegedly killed a number of stories regarding Trump over the years, including during his presidential campaign.
Presumably that is the nexus for prosecutors, as AMI in 2016 paid Karen McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her claims of an affair with Trump. Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer is under investigation by the Department of Justice, which is being led by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office. The crux of the investigation is possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations, leaving open the possibility that prosecutors suspect AMI acted as more than a facilitator of payment to McDougal, or simply had direct negotiations with Cohen on how that payment should proceed.
Cohen’s personal and attorney records were seized by investigators in April and rumors are circulating that he faces imminent arrest and might even be considering cutting a deal with prosecutors, according to numerous media reports.
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