Catch and Kill: The Protection Racket Used by Trump, Weinstein, Epstein and Wall Street

The mushrooming transmutations of catch and kill today involve not just public relations flacks, high-priced lawyers, publishers, mainstream media and Hollywood studios. Increasingly, catch and kill includes the U.S. Department of Justice, making this version of catch and kill exponentially more dangerous to American democracy.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade.

When it comes to the crime families of New York, they literally do catch and kill people who can’t be trusted to keep the secrets of their criminal operations. When it comes to the superrich in New York, they’re more inclined to “catch and kill” the story, rather than the accuser. (Jeffrey Epstein’s untimely death last year may be an exception.)

On October 11, 2017, Jim Rutenberg, writing for the New York Times about the aiders and abettors to Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults, explained the catch and kill strategy as follows:

“There is also another dynamic at play, involving something akin to a protection racket. This is the network of aggressive public relations flacks and lawyers who guard the secrets of those who employ them and keep their misdeeds out of public view.”

Keeping the secrets out of public view can involve a payoff to the victim and an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) or it can involve a more twisted version: getting a news outlet or Hollywood studio to pay big bucks to buy the story rights from the victim, with the promise to release the story to the public, then killing the story and making sure it doesn’t see the light of day anywhere else. This happens to a far greater extent than Americans currently understand.

The mushrooming transmutations of catch and kill today involve not just public relations flacks, high-priced lawyers, publishers, mainstream media and Hollywood studios. Increasingly, catch and kill includes the U.S. Department of Justice, making this version of catch and kill exponentially more dangerous to American democracy.

We’ll start off with a few of the catch and kill operations that you may have heard something about and then move on to the insidious Wall Street operations that have not, heretofore, been looked upon as catch and kill operations.

Trump’s Woman Problem and the National Enquirer: In December 2018, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to 3 years in jail for, among other things, two catch and kill operations that were meant to “influence the 2016 election and did so in coordination with one or more members of the campaign,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The catch and kill plots involved a payment of $150,000 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who alleged an affair with Trump. The payment was made by American Media, Inc. (AMI), the parent of the National Enquirer. AMI bought McDougal’s story, killed it, and then assigned the rights to the story to Cohen’s LLC. In addition, Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.

In AMI’s non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, it admitted that its Chairman and CEO at the time, David Pecker, had met with Cohen and hatched a plan to “help deal with negative stories” about Trump’s relationships with women, by “assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.” AMI also admitted that in purchasing McDougal’s “limited life rights for $150,000,” it had no intention “to publish the story or disseminate information about it publicly”.

Ronan Farrow and the Harvey Weinstein Investigation: Ronan Farrow has cast a harsh light on NBC, suggesting that it may have been involved in a nuanced form of catch and kill during his investigation of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults on women. NBC failed to broadcast Farrow’s story despite having filmed witness interviews. After NBC told Farrow that his story wasn’t reportable, Farrow took it to the New Yorker, where the article was published and won him a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. That article includes allegations of three rapes by Weinstein.

Farrow appeared on the MSNBC Rachel Maddow program shortly after his article ran in the New Yorker. Farrow was asked by Maddow why NBC did not air the story. Farrow responded:

“I walked into the door at the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, the New Yorker recognized that and it is not accurate to say that it wasn’t reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”

Jeffrey Epstein and the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Catch and kill is about the only logical way to view what happened to Jeffrey Epstein at the hands of Alex Acosta, then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida when Jeffrey Epstein got the sweetheart deal of a lifetime

Continue reading the article

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s