A former attorney for Karen McDougal, a past Playboy model seeking to cast aside a confidentiality agreement about an alleged affair she had with Donald Trump, wants to speak freely, too.
Keith Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer who negotiated the $150,000 deal three months before the 2016 presidential election, demanded Thursday that McDougal stop accusing him of mishandling her case — an appeal he made just hours before her first television interview is scheduled to air.
In a letter to her new attorney, Davidson argues that McDougal’s criticism of him in a lawsuit she filed this week comes “dangerously close” to a waiver of attorney-client privilege.
In an interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, McDougal is expected to discuss her new lawsuit against American Media Inc. (AMI), the publisher of the National Enquirer, which bought the rights to her story but did not publish it. The suit claims that Davidson worked secretly with AMI and Trump attorney Michael Cohen as “part of a broad effort to silence and intimidate” her.
The complaint alleges, without providing specifics, that Davidson had helped “catch and kill” other stories that would have been damaging to Trump.
In the letter to McDougal and her attorney, Peter K. Stris, Davidson says “the complaint and various media appearances portray an incomplete and misleading depiction of the facts, circumstances and communications related to my prior representation of Karen.”
Any further disclosures, Davidson says, “will be deemed to be a complete express waiver of the attorney-client privilege.”
Stris could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.
According to McDougal’s lawsuit, she was introduced to Davidson in June 2016, as she sought to tell the story of her alleged 10-month relationship with Trump. She said Davidson told her over a dinner involving “multiple bottles of wine” that the story was worth millions.
In a statement Tuesday, after McDougal filed her lawsuit, Davidson said he “fulfilled his obligations and zealously advocated for Ms. McDougal to accomplish her stated goals at that time.”
AMI denied any wrongdoing and said the contract with McDougal is valid.
McDougal is asking the court to declare her contract with AMI void, saying her story about Trump “is core political speech entitled to the highest protection under the law.”
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, comes two weeks after another woman, adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, sued Trump to invalidate her own confidentiality agreement. Daniels’s deal was with Cohen, who has said he “facilitated” a payment of $130,000 using his own money. Cohen has sought to keep Daniels quiet through private arbitration, alleging in a court filing that she could owe as much as $20 million for violating the agreement.