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Trump’s hush-money trial at a glance: gag order hearing and Pecker testimony Trump’s hush-money trial at a glance: gag order hearing and Pecker testimony
(about 2 hours later)
Donald Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know about the New York caseDonald Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges. Here’s what you need to know about the New York case
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:Here’s what you need to know about the case:
23 April: what’s happening today 23 April: what happened at a glance
The first witness, David Pecker of the National Enquirer, has returned to the stand after a very brief appearance on Monday. Trump sat for the second day of witness testimony in court in Manhattan on Tuesday in his criminal trial. The former president spoke to the media outside the courtroom, where he rallied against pro-Palestinian protests happening in various US college campuses.
First, Judge Juan Merchan heard arguments on whether Trump violated a court-imposed gag order with a series of social media posts about witnesses. Judge Juan Merchan held off on deciding whether Trump should be fined $10,000 for attacking expected trial witnesses in direct violation of a gag order designed to protect trial participants from being the target of Trump’s abuse.
Prosecutors have accused Trump of violating the order 10 times since the start of the trial, and last week filed a motion to hold the former president in contempt of court, and to fine him $1,000 per violation.
The defense argued Trump social media posts are responses to ‘political attacks’.
Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, covering prosecutors (but not the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg), witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Before the trial, Merchan then extended the gag order to cover his own family and Bragg’s family, after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns.Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, covering prosecutors (but not the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg), witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Before the trial, Merchan then extended the gag order to cover his own family and Bragg’s family, after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns.
Trump remains free to criticize Merchan himself, though doing so would be unlikely to win any favors from the judge, who will decide Trump’s sentence should the jury find him guilty. Trump remains free to criticize Merchan himself, though doing so would be unlikely to win any favors, who will decide Trump’s sentence should the jury find him guilty.
The first witness, David Pecker of the National Enquirer, has returned to the stand after a very brief appearance on Monday. The judge reserved ruling from the bench on Tuesday, but he appeared deeply unconvinced by arguments from Trump’s lead lawyer Todd Blanche that a series of social media posts were just responses to political attacks on Trump and therefore permitted. “Mr Blanche, you’re losing all credibility,” Merchan said.
First, Judge Juan Merchan heard arguments on whether Trump violated a court-imposed gag order with a series of social media posts about witnesses. David Pecker, Trump’s longtime ally and former publisher of the National Enquirer, was on the stand again as a prosecution witness following a brief appearance on Monday following opening statements.
Prosecutors have accused Trump of violating the order 10 times since the start of the trial, and last week filed a motion to hold the former president in contempt of court, and to fine him $1,000 per violation. Pecker told the court about being invited to a meeting with Trump and his then lawyer, Michael Cohen, in New York in 2015 after Trump had just declared his candidacy for president and was seeking a friendly and powerful media insider. “I said what I would do is I would run or publish positive stories about Mr Trump and I would publish negative stories about his opponents, and I said that I would also be the eyes and ears,” Pecker told jurors.
The defense argued Trump social media posts are responses to ‘political attacks’. Pecker said he had a “great relationship” with Trump over the years and considered him a “friend”, describing the former president as “very detail-oriented almost micromanaging”.
Pecker discussed the first of three “catch and kill” schemes, involving negative stories for Donald Trump that prosecutors allege he suppressed to help Trump’s campaign. The first involved a former Trump Tower doorman, Dino Sajudin, who alleged that Trump fathered illegitimate children. Pecker testified that he negotiated to pay $30,000 for the story, and that Cohen told him that “the boss”, referring to Trump, was “very pleased”.
Pecker also began to discuss Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who alleged that she had an affair with Trump. McDougal is expected to take the witness stand during this trial.
The court adjourned early at 2pm ET for the Passover holiday. The trial is not being held on Wednesday and is set to resume on Thursday.
Trump sat for the second day of witness testimony in court in Manhattan on Tuesday in his criminal trial. The former president spoke to the media outside the courtroom, where he rallied against pro-Palestinian protests happening in various US college campuses.
Judge Juan Merchan held off on deciding whether Trump should be fined $10,000 for attacking expected trial witnesses in direct violation of a gag order designed to protect trial participants from being the target of Trump’s abuse.
Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, covering prosecutors (but not the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg), witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Before the trial, Merchan then extended the gag order to cover his own family and Bragg’s family, after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns.Merchan subjected Trump to a gag order before the trial began, covering prosecutors (but not the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg), witnesses, court employees, jurors and their families. Before the trial, Merchan then extended the gag order to cover his own family and Bragg’s family, after Trump posted about Merchan’s daughter, who worked for a company that helped Democratic candidates with digital campaigns.
Trump remains free to criticize Merchan himself, though doing so would be unlikely to win any favors from the judge, who will decide Trump’s sentence should the jury find him guilty. Trump remains free to criticize Merchan himself, though doing so would be unlikely to win any favors, who will decide Trump’s sentence should the jury find him guilty.
The judge reserved ruling from the bench on Tuesday, but he appeared deeply unconvinced by arguments from Trump’s lead lawyer Todd Blanche that a series of social media posts were just responses to political attacks on Trump and therefore permitted. “Mr Blanche, you’re losing all credibility,” Merchan said.
David Pecker, Trump’s longtime ally and former publisher of the National Enquirer, was on the stand again as a prosecution witness following a brief appearance on Monday following opening statements.
Pecker told the court about being invited to a meeting with Trump and his then lawyer, Michael Cohen, in New York in 2015 after Trump had just declared his candidacy for president and was seeking a friendly and powerful media insider. “I said what I would do is I would run or publish positive stories about Mr Trump and I would publish negative stories about his opponents, and I said that I would also be the eyes and ears,” Pecker told jurors.
Pecker said he had a “great relationship” with Trump over the years and considered him a “friend”, describing the former president as “very detail-oriented … almost micromanaging”.
Pecker discussed the first of three “catch and kill” schemes, involving negative stories for Donald Trump that prosecutors allege he suppressed to help Trump’s campaign. The first involved a former Trump Tower doorman, Dino Sajudin, who alleged that Trump fathered illegitimate children. Pecker testified that he negotiated to pay $30,000 for the story, and that Cohen told him that “the boss”, referring to Trump, was “very pleased”.
Pecker also began to discuss Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who alleged that she had an affair with Trump. McDougal is expected to take the witness stand during this trial.
The court adjourned early at 2pm ET for the Passover holiday. The trial is not being held on Wednesday and is set to resume on Thursday.
Key characters and factsKey characters and facts
Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; trial began 15 April 2024.Trump hush-money trial status: Trump pleaded not guilty; 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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What has happened in the case so far Key moments in the trial so far
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, 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. 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.
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. 23 April: David Pecker, the National Enquirer publisher, says he was Trump’s “eyes and ears” during the 2016 election campaign
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. Three key takeaways from the first day.
14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.
12 April: “The only thing special about this case is the defendant”: Trump’s New York criminal trial begins – but will the public care?
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, 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. 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.
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. Three key takeaways from the first day.
14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.
12 April: “The only thing special about this case is the defendant”: Trump’s New York criminal trial begins – but will the public care?