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National Enquirer publisher gave prosecutors in Cohen trial information in return for immunity

David Pecker (L) and Daniel E. Harris attend the 'Shape France' Magazine cocktail launch at Hotel Talleyrand on January 19, 2012 in Paris, France. Pecker has reportedly been given federal immunity in return for providing prosecutors in former-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's trial with information. (Francois Durand/Getty Images)

David Pecker, the chairman of the company that publishes the National Enquirer tabloid, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pecker reportedly received the immunity deal after handing over information to prosecutors to be used in their case against Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for President Donald Trump.

What did National Enquirer chairman provide?

According to another report in the Wall Street Journal, Pecker “provided prosecutors with details about payments Mr. Cohen arranged with women who alleged sexual encounters with President Trump, including Mr. Trump's knowledge of the deals.”

Pecker and his company were subpoenaed in April, when the FBI was raiding Cohen's office and residences. Prosecutors in this case have argued that Pecker made sure to keep any negative stories about Trump out of the National Enquirer.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice said that the chairman of “a media company that owns, among other things, a popular tabloid magazine” had helped to facilitate the payment of $130,000 from Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels, who had accused Trump of having an affair with her during October of 2016. This payment in violation of campaign finance laws.

American Media, the company that owns The National Enquirer, also paid $150,000 in August 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to purchase the exclusive rights to the story about her alleged affair with Trump. The company then buried the story.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday in return for a reduced sentence of three to five years in prison. Had the case gone to trial, he could have received a sentence of up to 65 years.

On Thursday, Trump slammed Cohen for “flipping,” and said that it “almost ought to be outlawed.” He added that he thought most people in Cohen's position “just make up lies” in order to get a better deal.

Pecker has been a stalwart supporter of President Donald Trump and Trump has often returned the favor. Trump tweeted in April, May, and July of 2013 that he thought that Pecker should be the CEO of Time Magazine, because “he'd make it exciting and win awards.”

Trump has also praised the National Enquirer as a publication that “should be very respected.” Defending his promotion of an outrageous story from the tabloid linking Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) father to Lee Harvey Oswald, Trump said during a May 2016 ABC News interview that the National Enquirer “gave you John Edwards, it gave you O.J. Simpson, it gave you many, many things. I mean, you can't knock the National Enquirer.”

After Trump's accusations, Cruz's presidential campaign slammed his promotion of “another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage,” adding “that is not Rafael [Cruz] in the picture.”

This is an ongoing story and will be updated.

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