BREAKING: NYC DA Bragg expands Trump inquiry to include alleged payoff to Playboy model

Trump has dismissed the investigation as a witch hunt and denied any wrongdoing.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

Manhattan prosecutors investigating Donald Trump's involvement in the alleged payout to porn star Storm Daniels are also looking into an alleged $150,000 payment made to a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with the former president. 

Since January, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office has been presenting evidence of Trump's involvement in a $130,000 payment to Daniels. However, the same prosecutors have also extensively questioned grand jury witnesses about Karen McDougal, Playboy Magazine's Playmate of the Year in 1998, who alleged she had a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006.

The prosecutors could use the evidence related to McDougal to either bring charges directly related to her payment or establish a pattern of behavior by Trump, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The people involved in both deals claim that Trump played a significant role. However, a spokeswoman for Bragg declined to comment, and a lawyer for McDougal did not respond to requests for comment from the Journal. A spokesman for Trump also did not comment immediately. Trump has dismissed the investigation as a "witch hunt" and denied any wrongdoing.

McDougal signed a contract with the National Enquirer in August 2016, giving the publisher exclusive rights to her story about an affair with Donald Trump.

The deal was part of a tabloid practice known as "catch and kill," where a publication pays for a story only to bury it, keeping it out of the public eye. American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer and a longtime Trump ally, later admitted to federal prosecutors that they bought McDougal's story to prevent her from sharing it elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal first revealed the payment to McDougal in November 2016, but Trump's lawyers have denied his knowledge of it until after the agreement was made. Trump has also denied having an affair with McDougal.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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