David Pecker
David Pecker

David Pecker, CEO of American Media, the company that publishes the National Enquirer, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors in the investigation surrounding Michael Cohen

Pecker, a longtime friend of the president, met with prosecutors to describe Cohen’s involvement in the hush money schemes brokered before the 2016 election, the Wall Street Journal reported today. He said that not only did Cohen make payments to two women who allegedly had sexual encounters with Trump while he was running for president, but that the then-presidential candidate had knowledge of those payments.

The hush money was paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, who received $130,000, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who got $150,000 as part of a “catch-and-kill” setup, in which American Media bought the rights to her story and then withheld it from publication.

The New York Times reports that Pecker and American Media chief content officer Dylan Howard informed Trump that McDougal was looking to tell her story as early as June 2016 and that Cohen finalized a deal for the catch-and-kill operation in August 2016.

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts—including tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and campaign violations—on Tuesday.