This article is from the source 'guardian' and was first published or seen on . The next check for changes will be

You can find the current article at its original source at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/apr/15/trump-hush-money-trial

The article has changed 42 times. There is an RSS feed of changes available.

Version 22 Version 23
Trump hush-money trial: Here’s what’s happened so far Judge threatens Trump with jail for contempt: the hush-money trial so far
(3 days later)
Catch up on the latest news from Donald Trump’s criminal trial Here’s what you need to know Donald Trump’s criminal trial, at a glance
Donald Trump is the first former US president to be tried on criminal charges – and could face prison if convicted. A jury of seven men and five women will weigh the allegation that Trump falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump denies 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023.Donald Trump is the first former US president to be tried on criminal charges – and could face prison if convicted. A jury of seven men and five women will weigh the allegation that Trump falsified the financial transaction behind the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump denies 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in spring 2023.
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:
3 May: at a glance 6 May: here’s what happened today
Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s former campaign communications director, took the stand as a key prosecution witness on Friday in testimony describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign. Judge Juan Merchan found Trump in contempt for breaching a gag order by speaking about the jury, namely about how quickly it was seated, and his belief it was made up of “95% Democrats”. Merchan fined Trump $1,000, bringing the total fines to $10,000 for 10 separate breaches, and warned Trump he faced jail for any subsequent infraction.
Hicks placed Trump squarely at the center of his campaign media strategy, telling jurors “we were all just following his lead”. Trump “deserves the credit for the different messages that the campaign focused on in terms of the agenda that he put forth”, she told the court. Deborah Tarasoff, a former accountant at the Trump Organization, testified that Trump personally signed reimbursement checks to his “fixer” Michael Cohen, who made the payment to adult movie star Stormy Daniels that is at the heart of this case. Showing that Trump signed them chips away at the defense claim that Trump was detached from the transactions.
Her testimony marked a turning point for prosecutors, as she is the first Trump staffer with intimate knowledge of Trump’s campaign to testify about his alleged misconduct. Tarasoff was led through a succession of checks to Cohen that she cut, then sent to Trump for signing, some while the former president was in the White House. The purpose appeared to be giving the jury a clear understanding of the regular practices in place at the company, and how the hush-money payment to Daniels veered outside normal procedures to point of illegality.
Hicks said she was “very concerned” about the contents of an email from a Washington Post reporter about the Access Hollywood tape. “It was a damaging development,” Hicks said. “[The] consensus among us that this was damaging this was a crisis.” Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization’s retired controller and senior vice-president, was pressed by the prosecution on the company’s accounting and reporting procedures, focusing on the argument that Trump was in full control of his personal and company finances, and had authorized and was aware of the purpose of the payment to Daniels.
Hicks was also asked on Friday about a media inquiry from the Wall Street Journal, which was running a story in early November 2016 about AMI’s purchase of Stormy Daniels’ and Karen McDougals’ stories and the failure to run them. Hicks said that she thought she’d spoken with Trump after getting this inquiry. Trump’s lawyer Emil Bove got McConney to concede he had never spoken with Trump about repayments to Cohen, and had never been directed to register the payments in a certain way, or improperly.
Hicks said Trump told her to deny that he had a sexual relationship with Daniels. “He wanted to make sure that there was a denial of any kind of relationship,” said Hicks. Bove suggested there was no falsification, in part because of the narrow way Trump Organization payments had to be recorded, using the drop-down menu of an “antiquated” software recording system.
Hicks said Trump was worried about the WSJ story and its impact, including about Melania Trump catching word of the coverage. “He wanted me to make sure that the newspapers were [not] delivered to their residence that morning,” Hicks told jurors. Additionally, McConney conceded that Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer, and said he always recorded payments to lawyers as “legal expenses” in the ledger during his 36-plus years with the company.
Hicks said Trump told her that Michael Cohen had paid off Daniels to “protect him from a false allegation” out of the “kindness of his own heart”. But, she said, “I didn’t know Michael to be an especially charitable person or selfless person.” Trump complained as he was leaving the court that prosecutors said their case could take at least another two weeks to present. Repeating previous false claims, he insisted the trial was merely a ruse to keep the Republican party’s presumptive presidential nominee “off the campaign trail”.
Hicks broke into tears on Friday while testifying. The former Trump campaign press secretary cut a skittish figure in the judge’s courtroom, and was clearly uncomfortable and had a quavering voice as she introduced herself to jurors. Judge Juan Merchan found Trump in contempt for breaching a gag order by speaking about the jury, namely about how quickly it was seated, and his belief it was made up of “95% Democrats”. Merchan fined Trump $1,000, bringing the total fines to $10,000 for 10 separate breaches, and warned Trump he faced jail for any subsequent infraction.
Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s former campaign communications director, took the stand as a key prosecution witness on Friday in testimony describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign. Deborah Tarasoff, a former accountant at the Trump Organization, testified that Trump personally signed reimbursement checks to his “fixer” Michael Cohen, who made the payment to adult movie star Stormy Daniels that is at the heart of this case. Showing that Trump signed them chips away at the defense claim that Trump was detached from the transactions.
Hicks placed Trump squarely at the center of his campaign media strategy, telling jurors “we were all just following his lead”. Trump “deserves the credit for the different messages that the campaign focused on in terms of the agenda that he put forth”, she told the court. Tarasoff was led through a succession of checks to Cohen that she cut, then sent to Trump for signing, some while the former president was in the White House. The purpose appeared to be giving the jury a clear understanding of the regular practices in place at the company, and how the hush-money payment to Daniels veered outside normal procedures to point of illegality.
Her testimony marked a turning point for prosecutors, as she is the first Trump staffer with intimate knowledge of Trump’s campaign to testify about his alleged misconduct. Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization’s retired controller and senior vice-president, was pressed by the prosecution on the company’s accounting and reporting procedures, focusing on the argument that Trump was in full control of his personal and company finances, and had authorized and was aware of the purpose of the payment to Daniels.
Hicks said she was “very concerned” about the contents of an email from a Washington Post reporter about the Access Hollywood tape. “It was a damaging development,” Hicks said. “[The] consensus among us that this was damaging this was a crisis.” Trump’s lawyer Emil Bove got McConney to concede he had never spoken with Trump about repayments to Cohen, and had never been directed to register the payments in a certain way, or improperly.
Hicks was also asked on Friday about a media inquiry from the Wall Street Journal, which was running a story in early November 2016 about AMI’s purchase of Stormy Daniels’ and Karen McDougals’ stories and the failure to run them. Hicks said that she thought she’d spoken with Trump after getting this inquiry. Bove suggested there was no falsification, in part because of the narrow way Trump Organization payments had to be recorded, using the drop-down menu of an “antiquated” software recording system.
Hicks said Trump told her to deny that he had a sexual relationship with Daniels. “He wanted to make sure that there was a denial of any kind of relationship,” said Hicks. Additionally, McConney conceded that Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer, and said he always recorded payments to lawyers as “legal expenses” in the ledger during his 36-plus years with the company.
Hicks said Trump was worried about the WSJ story and its impact, including about Melania Trump catching word of the coverage. “He wanted me to make sure that the newspapers were [not] delivered to their residence that morning,” Hicks told jurors. Trump complained as he was leaving the court that prosecutors said their case could take at least another two weeks to present. Repeating previous false claims, he insisted the trial was merely a ruse to keep the Republican party’s presumptive presidential nominee “off the campaign trail”.
Hicks said Trump told her that Michael Cohen had paid off Daniels to “protect him from a false allegation” out of the “kindness of his own heart”. But, she said, “I didn’t know Michael to be an especially charitable person or selfless person.”
Hicks broke into tears on Friday while testifying. The former Trump campaign press secretary cut a skittish figure in the judge’s courtroom, and was clearly uncomfortable and had a quavering voice as she introduced herself to jurors.
Key characters and factsKey characters and facts
Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; the trial began on 15 April 2024.Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; the trial began on 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? Likely.Verdict before election? Likely.
Sign up to Trump on TrialSign up to Trump on Trial
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.
after newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotion
Key moments in the trial so farKey moments in the trial so far
3 May: Hope Hicks took the stand as a key prosecution witness in testimony describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign.
2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified as prosecutors ask for $4,000 more for gag order violations.2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified as prosecutors ask for $4,000 more for gag order violations.
30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.
26 April: David Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.26 April: David Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.
25 April: David Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.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, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.
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.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 finally chose all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial.19 April: The court finally chose all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial.
18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors were removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors were 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.
3 May: Hope Hicks took the stand as a key prosecution witness in testimony describing 2016 Trump campaign staffers’ panic when a recording emerged in which Trump bragged about groping women and the former president’s complete control over the campaign.
2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified as prosecutors ask for $4,000 more for gag order violations.2 May: Keith Davidson, a lawyer who negotiated payments, testified as prosecutors ask for $4,000 more for gag order violations.
30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.30 April: Trump fined $9,000 over gag order violations as judge warns of jail time.
26 April: David Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.26 April: David Pecker’s testimony presented a granular look into a hush-money scheme that prosecutors allege was meant to sway the 2016 election in the real estate mogul’s favor.
25 April: David Pecker testified about his role in buying a story from the model Karen McDougal about an alleged affair with Trump.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, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, said he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign.
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.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 finally chose all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial.19 April: The court finally chose all 18 jurors who will decide the fate of Donald Trump in his historic criminal trial.
18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors were removed earlier in the day.18 April: Twelve jurors were selected for Donald Trump’s criminal trial after two seated jurors were 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.