David Pecker Exits Postmedia Board Following Cohen Controversy

(Bloomberg) -- David Pecker, implicated in the scandal involving payments to women who had alleged affairs years ago with President Donald Trump, resigned from the board of a Canadian newspaper company.

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. said Tuesday that American Media Inc.’s chief executive officer has decided to step down. Pecker has served as a director since October 2016.

“David noted that it is important for him to focus his efforts on ensuring that his businesses are best positioned for continued growth,” Peter Sharpe, lead director at Postmedia, said in a statement.

Last week, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and said American Media knew about or played a role in payments before the 2016 election to two women who had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago. The payments were directed by Trump and amounted to illegal campaign contributions, Cohen claimed.

Since Cohen spoke last week, it emerged that federal authorities granted immunity to two key witnesses. Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is cooperating, the Wall Street Journal reported. So is Pecker, whose American Media owns the National Enquirer and allegedly made “catch and kill” deals that helped keep the alleged affairs out of public view, Vanity Fair first reported.

In recent days, a union representing Canadian journalists called on Postmedia to remove Pecker from its board after Cohen confirmed American Media’s role in the payments.

In 2016, Pecker told the Toronto Star he was asked to join Postmedia’s board by Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey hedge fund that owns stakes in Postmedia and American Media.

American Media owns various titles focused on celebrity gossip and fitness, including the National Enquirer, Men’s Journal, Star Magazine, Men’s Fitness and Us Weekly. Postmedia’s publications include the National Post and Vancouver Sun.

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