Publisher of National Enquirer Subpoenaed in Michael Cohen Probe

Corporations are barred from making contributions to candidates under federal election law. If investigators find evidence that Mr. Cohen pressed American Media to buy Ms. McDougal’s story to protect Mr. Trump’s campaign, prosecutors could bring charges against Mr. Cohen, the company or both, legal experts said.

In such a case, prosecutors would have to prove Mr. Cohen coordinated with American Media to provide Mr. Trump something of value for the purpose of influencing the election, said Douglas Spencer, a professor of law and public policy at the University of Connecticut. Proving coordination would likely be the most difficult prong of such a case, he said.

.. Mr. Trump’s relationship with the National Enquirer stretches back decades. Tips about Mr. Trump poured into the tabloid after his television show “Celebrity Apprentice” took off in 2002, but the Enquirer turned away stories that could paint him in a bad light, two former American Media employees said.
.. Barry Levine, the National Enquirer’s executive editor until 2016, reminded them that Mr. Pecker wouldn’t allow it, these former employees said.
.. In time, AMI employees wouldn’t pitch any more critical articles about Mr. Trump, one of the ex-employees said, which is how Mr. Trump became known within the company as a “FOP,” or Friend of Pecker.