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.

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

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