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Karen McDougall. Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with President Trump in 2006, has sued Fox News for defamation, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: McDougal said Fox News host Tucker Carlson defamed her with an accusation of extortion when he said in 2018 that she "approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money," according to the Times.

  • McDougal is seeking damages from Fox News in New York state court, claiming that she never threatened Trump and that her reputation was harmed.

Between the lines: "First Amendment protections make defamation lawsuits difficult to win, and the cases often are settled or dismissed by a court before trial," the Times writes.

What they're saying: "Fox News will vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims," the news channel said in a statement.

Flashback: In 2018, McDougal reached a settlement with American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Inquirer, after the tabloid bought the rights to her story prior to the 2016 election to prevent her from speaking publicly about the affair.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a comment from Fox News.

Go deeper

13 mins ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
18 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Trump sets auction for Arctic refuge drilling rights before Biden takes office

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Interior Department on Thursday said it will auction oil drilling leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in early January.

Why it matters: The procedural step would make it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to thwart drilling in the region, even though any actual development is years away.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney elected chair of House Democrats' campaign arm

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Thursday was elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2022 cycle, narrowly defeating Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) 119 to 107, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Maloney will be tasked with protecting House Democrats' slim majority in 2022 after they underperformed in November's election, losing seats in down-ballot races across the country.