David J. Pecker’s name has been in the news of late but not on the cover of his own papers and magazines, think the National Enquirer.
Pecker’s recent notoriety as a close associate of Pres. Donald Trump, and his likely scrutiny by federal investigators over efforts to protect Donald Trump from unflattering news, at best, might be a story his team would have purchased as a ‘catch and kill.’
In a New York Times story, in a Wall Street Journal report and in a Vanity Fair article, it’s reported Pecker was granted immunity by federal prosecutors. The same federal prosecutors handling the Michael Cohen case, the former Trump loyalist and lawyer who admitted in court he made hush money payments on the direction of then-candidate Trump to silence two women Trump had sex with, adult actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
Pecker and Trump go way back. As Vanity Fair shared, a Trump confidante said, “Holy shit, I thought Pecker would be the last one to turn.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. David J. Pecker, a Native New Yorker, Was Born in the Bronx in 1953 & Graduated From Pace University
Born in the Bronx in the 1950s, Pecker earned a bachelor’s degree from Pace University and years later was awarded an honorary masters’ from the New York university.
Pecker began his career in publishing as a bean counter for CBS Magazines and moved up the ranks to become a company vice president. The company would soon sell to Hachette where he would take the reins and would later serve as CEO of Hachette’s Filipacchi Médias, the French publisher. Pecker’s Hachette Filipacchi Médias teamed up with John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1995 to create ‘George’ magazine.
In 1999, Pecker joined American Media, the newly formed amalgam of supermarket tabloids.
Pecker lives in Boca Raton, Florida.
2. Pecker is the CEO of American Media, a Tabloid Empire With its Flagship the National Enquirer. A.M.I. Was a Target of an Anthrax Attack
Pecker is the chairman and the CEO of American Media Inc., known as A.M.I.
Pecker’s company publishes the Enquirer, Star, National Examiner, Us, OK!, & Globe, all supermarket tabloids with sensational and often fake headlines. And the Enquirer in particular has been accused of going out of its way to support Trump with sensational headlines which may or may not be true.
The National ENQUIRER has a proud 92-year history. Insatiable headlines, scandals and unforgettable stories have made this title a household name! We report the unvarnished stories about celebrities: their antics, celebrations, loves, mishaps.
Plus, the ENQUIRER covers high profile national and international scandals like no other ‹ with exclusive breaking news. If it’s a gritty true crime story, or political scandal, no matter what is reported, National ENQUIRER readers are first to know!
Pecker also publishes fitness magazines including Shape, Flex, Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness.
Pecker makes $3 million a year in compensation from his company and is associated with scores of other companies and enterprises as board member including iPayment Inc. and Sunbram Products, according to Bloomberg.
In 2002, A.M.I. in Boca Raton was the target of an anthrax attack that killed one worker. Pecker wanted the federal government to pay for the cleanup. The location was the first in the U.S. to be contaminated with anthrax.
3. David Pecker & Donald Trump go Way Back. Pecker Supported Trump’s Bid for President in 2000
Pecker has said on numerous occasions said he’s not only a Trump supporter, he’s a close friend. He even contributed, it was reported by the New York Times in April of 2018, that Pecker supported Trump’s inaugural bid for president in 2000 for the Ross Perot-founded Reform Party.
In a New Yorker story, a National Enquirer staffer who was not named said Pecker, who used Trump’s private plane for trips to Florida, “…thought Donald walked on water…”
“Donald treated David like a little puppy. Donald liked being flattered, and David thought Donald was the king. Both have similar management styles, similar attitudes, starting with absolute superiority over anybody else,” the person told the New Yorker.
4. Former Trump Doorman Dino Sajudin Claims Pecker’s AMI Paid Him to Keep Quiet About a Trump Illegitimate Child Rumor
Trump World doorman Dino Sajudin was paid $30,000 by the A.M.I., the National Enquirer, in exchange for signing over the rights, ‘in perpetuity,’ to a rumor he’d heard about Trump’s sex life — that the president had fathered an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations.”
The National Enquirer, its associated publications and A.M.I. use the ‘catch and kill’ tactic to protect someone, like Trump, from unwanted publicity and embarrassment: pay for the rights then bury the story.
In Sajudin’s case, if he talked with anyone about the rumor, he’d be subject to a $1 million penalty. Cohen told the AP this spring “he had discussed Sajudin’s story with the magazine when the tabloid was working on it. He said he was acting as a Trump spokesman when he did so and denied knowing anything beforehand about the Enquirer payment to the ex-doorman.”
If catch-and-kill was used to benefit the Trump campaign, that may have violated Federal Elections Commision rules. It’s not clear where that investigation stands although a New York Times story suggests Pecker and A.M.I. “acted more as a political supporter than a news organization …”
Read more about Sajudin here.
5. Pecker Was Subpoenaed by the Feds Related to a Federal Criminal Investigation Into Trump Attorney Michael Cohen
The Wall Street Journal reported in late June that Pecker was for all records and documents related to a Karen McDougal payoff.
McDougal was paid $150,000 by the National Enquirer for the rights to her story about her sexual relationship with the president. What the Enquirer did was not publish the story, rather, it killed it.
It was reported federal prosecutors asked for records relating to that payment.