“National Enquirer sent stories about Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen before publication, people familiar with the practice say”

WaPo:

During the presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid’s articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication, according to three people with knowledge of the matter — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company.

Although the company strongly denies ever sharing such material before publication, these three individuals say the sharing of material continued after Trump took office.

“Since Trump’s become president and even before, [Pecker] openly just has been willing to turn the magazine and the cover over to the Trump machine,” said one of the people with knowledge of the practice.

During the campaign, “if it was a story specifically about Trump, then it was sent over to Michael, and as long as there were no objections from him, the story could be published,” this person added….

Richard Hasen, a professor specializing in election law at the University of California at Irvine’s law school, said that coordinating a message with a political candidate only becomes problematic for a media company if the candidate exerts a level of “control” over the outlet.

If a media corporation submits to a candidate’s instructions, “that could amount to a violation of federal election laws,” he said.

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