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Trump’s hush-money trial: Pecker’s second day of testimony at a glance David Pecker returns to the stand for third day: Trump’s hush-money trial so far
(about 16 hours later)
A jury will weigh the allegation that Trump falsified business records to cover a $130,000 payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Here’s what you need to knowA jury will weigh the allegation that Trump falsified business records to cover a $130,000 payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Here’s what you need to know
Donald Trump is the first former US president to face criminal charges. The 2024 Republican presumptive presidential nominee faces the threat of prison if he is convicted. A jury of seven men and five women will weigh the New York case’s allegation that Trump falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023. Trump has pleaded not guilty.Donald Trump is the first former US president to face criminal charges. The 2024 Republican presumptive presidential nominee faces the threat of prison if he is convicted. A jury of seven men and five women will weigh the New York case’s allegation that Trump falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023. Trump has pleaded not guilty.
Here’s what you need to know about the case and what happened today:Here’s what you need to know about the case and what happened today:
25 April: at a glance 26 April: at a glance
David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and chief executive of American Media Inc (AMI), returned to the stand on Thursday for a third day of testimony. He will resume his testimony on Friday. Court will resume this morning in Manhattan with David Pecker due back on the stand in the hush-money trial of Donald Trump. Trump’s lawyers will continue to cross-examine Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and Trump ally.
Pecker told the court he agreed to buy a story from the Playboy model, Karen McDougal, specifically to bury it so that it did not “embarrass or hurt the [Trump] campaign”. He said a $150,000 payment he agreed to make to McDougal in August 2016 was so his publication could “kill” McDougal’s story about a 10-month affair she says she had with Trump a decade earlier. The jury was shown records of the $150,000 payment, including an invoice from McDougal’s lawyer. It will be Pecker’s third day of testimony in the case. Earlier in the week, he testified that the “catch-and-kill” schemes used to buy negative stories about Trump in order to bury them was specifically about helping Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Pecker said Trump called him for advice after he became a presidential candidate, telling him “Karen is a nice girl”, and that he was worried news of the affair would hurt his campaign. “I think you should buy the story and take it off the market,” Pecker recalled telling Trump. Court will resume this morning in Manhattan with David Pecker due back on the stand in the hush-money trial of Donald Trump. Trump’s lawyers will continue to cross-examine Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and Trump ally.
Pecker said he worked with the former National Enquirer editor-in-chief, Dylan Howard, and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to facilitate the payment. Pecker admitted that AMI’s goal was to try to prevent the story from interfering with the Trump campaign, and that he was nervous about whether the payment would violate campaign contribution laws. It will be Pecker’s third day of testimony in the case. Earlier in the week, he testified that the “catch-and-kill” schemes used to buy negative stories about Trump in order to bury them was specifically about helping Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Pecker said he expressed to Cohen nervousness about the amount AMI was paying to McDougal. “Don’t worry, I’m your friend. The boss [Trump] will take care of it,” Pecker recalled Cohen telling him.
But Pecker said things turned sour when he ultimately backed out of the agreement after talking with lawyers. Pecker confirmed AMI consulted an election law attorney when they were considering paying McDougal for her story. Cohen was “very, very angry, screaming, basically”, Pecker said.
Pecker said he received a frantic call from Howard in early October 2016 who said Stormy Daniels was trying to sell a story about her sexual relationship with Trump. Pecker told jurors Howard said Daniels wanted $120,000 for the story. Pecker said he did not want to be involved with a porn star, and that Cohen told him “the boss will be very angry with you”.
Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass repeatedly tied Trump’s motive for quashing the story to protecting his presidential campaign, presenting it as interference in the 2016 election that Trump won. “I made the assumption that his concern was the campaign,” Pecker said when asked if Trump ever expressed any concern for his wife and children.
Trump attorney Emil Bove began cross-examination of Pecker, grilling him on his recollection of specific dates and meetings to underscore the difficulty of recalling details relevant to the years-old allegations against Trump. Pecker insisted his testimony was based on his “best recollection of the time”.
Bove traced Pecker’s long relationship with Trump, showing how he helped his friend long before the presidential election. Pecker spoke about how he gave Trump a heads up about a negative story about Trump’s then-wife, Marla Maples.
Donald Trump addressed the media as he left the courtroom on Thursday afternoon, describing Pecker’s testimony as “breathtaking and amazing”. “This is a trial that should’ve never happened, this is a case that should’ve never been filed and it was really an incredible, an incredible day,” the former president told reporters.
David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher and chief executive of American Media Inc (AMI), returned to the stand on Thursday for a third day of testimony. He will resume his testimony on Friday.
Pecker told the court he agreed to buy a story from the Playboy model, Karen McDougal, specifically to bury it so that it did not “embarrass or hurt the [Trump] campaign”. He said a $150,000 payment he agreed to make to McDougal in August 2016 was so his publication could “kill” McDougal’s story about a 10-month affair she says she had with Trump a decade earlier. The jury was shown records of the $150,000 payment, including an invoice from McDougal’s lawyer.
Pecker said Trump called him for advice after he became a presidential candidate, telling him “Karen is a nice girl”, and that he was worried news of the affair would hurt his campaign. “I think you should buy the story and take it off the market,” Pecker recalled telling Trump.
Pecker said he worked with the former National Enquirer editor-in-chief, Dylan Howard, and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to facilitate the payment. Pecker admitted that AMI’s goal was to try to prevent the story from interfering with the Trump campaign, and that he was nervous about whether the payment would violate campaign contribution laws.
Pecker said he expressed to Cohen nervousness about the amount AMI was paying to McDougal. “Don’t worry, I’m your friend. The boss [Trump] will take care of it,” Pecker recalled Cohen telling him.
But Pecker said things turned sour when he ultimately backed out of the agreement after talking with lawyers. Pecker confirmed AMI consulted an election law attorney when they were considering paying McDougal for her story. Cohen was “very, very angry, screaming, basically”, Pecker said.
Pecker said he received a frantic call from Howard in early October 2016 who said Stormy Daniels was trying to sell a story about her sexual relationship with Trump. Pecker told jurors Howard said Daniels wanted $120,000 for the story. Pecker said he did not want to be involved with a porn star, and that Cohen told him “the boss will be very angry with you”.
Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass repeatedly tied Trump’s motive for quashing the story to protecting his presidential campaign, presenting it as interference in the 2016 election that Trump won. “I made the assumption that his concern was the campaign,” Pecker said when asked if Trump ever expressed any concern for his wife and children.
Trump attorney Emil Bove began cross-examination of Pecker, grilling him on his recollection of specific dates and meetings to underscore the difficulty of recalling details relevant to the years-old allegations against Trump. Pecker insisted his testimony was based on his “best recollection of the time”.
Bove traced Pecker’s long relationship with Trump, showing how he helped his friend long before the presidential election. Pecker spoke about how he gave Trump a heads up about a negative story about Trump’s then-wife, Marla Maples.
Donald Trump addressed the media as he left the courtroom on Thursday afternoon, describing Pecker’s testimony as “breathtaking and amazing”. “This is a trial that should’ve never happened, this is a case that should’ve never been filed and it was really an incredible, an incredible day,” the former president told reporters.
Key characters and factsKey characters and facts
Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; the trial began 15 April 2024.Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; the trial began 15 April 2024.
Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.Charges: 34 felony charges of falsifying business records.
Hush-money case summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.Hush-money case summary: The case involves a hush-money scheme during the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to quash her story about having an extramarital affair with the former president. Trump has denied the affair took place. Prosecutors accuse the former president of illegally reimbursing Cohen for the hush-money payment by falsely classifying the transaction, executed by the Trump Organization, as legal expenses.
Verdict before election? LikelyVerdict before election? Likely
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Stay up to date on all of Donald Trump’s trials. Guardian staff will send weekly updates each Wednesday – as well as bonus editions on major trial days.Stay up to date on all of Donald Trump’s trials. Guardian staff will send weekly updates each Wednesday – as well as bonus editions on major trial days.
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Key moments in the trial so farKey moments in the trial so far
25 April: David Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.
23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, says he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, says he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.
22 April: in its opening statement, prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels. 22 April: in its opening statement, the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.
18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.
16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.
15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial.15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial.
25 April: David Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.
23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, says he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, says he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.
22 April: in its opening statement, prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels. 22 April: in its opening statement, the prosecution said Trump “orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election” in his efforts to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star Stormy Daniels.
19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.19 April: The court has finally chosen all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial. With the jury bench now full, the trial is expected to move toward opening statements next week.
18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors have been selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors had been removed earlier in the day.
16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.16 April: Judge Juan Merchan admonished Trump for “gesturing and speaking in the direction of the juror” as jury selection continued in the second day of the criminal trial.
15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial.15 April: Trump’s hush-money trial began on Monday. He is the country’s first president – present or former – to face a criminal trial.