National Enquirer Mogul and Trump Ally David Pecker Steps Down

American Media LLC’s David Pecker, the executive who oversaw the National Enquirer tabloid and was an ally to President Donald Trump during the last election, will step down as head of the company as part of a merger deal.

American Media will be combined with Accelerate360 LLC, a logistics company, and be renamed A360 Media, according to a statement Friday. Pecker, who was president and chief executive officer, will stay on as an executive adviser.

A360 Media will focus on its portfolio of celebrity magazines, such as Us Weekly, OK! and Life & Style. The company agreed to sell the National Enquirer to Hudson Media last year, though the parties haven’t announced a completion of that deal. Hedge fund Chatham Asset Management is the principal owner of American Media, as well as a backer of Accelerate360.

Pecker, 68. has been longtime friend of Trump, and he struck an immunity deal with federal prosecutors as part of an investigation into the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. The company entered into a related non-prosecution agreement covering crimes including perjury and obstruction of justice.

The deals stemmed from the company’s alleged efforts to aid Trump by purchasing the rights to potentially damaging stories and declining to publish them, a practice known as “catch and kill.”

The Enquirer and its owner came under more scrutiny after Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos accused American Media of trying to blackmail him with photos of him with a woman who wasn’t his wife. To support the claims, he published emails sent to his lawyer by American Media executives.

The controversy engulfed Chatham, which was questioned by New Jersey officials over the situation. The firm also came under review by securities regulators.

A360 Media plans to keep its headquarters in New York, but some operations will relocate to Accelerate’s base in Georgia.

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