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David Pecker returns to witness stand: Trump’s hush money trial – so far David Pecker returns to witness stand: Trump’s hush money trial – so far
(about 1 hour 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 glance25 April: at a glance
David Pecker, longtime chief executive of AMI, which owns the National Enquirer, returns to the witness stand today in Trump’s criminal trial. Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker said 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.
Pecker tells the court Michael Cohen said Trump would be “furious” over Pecker’s refusal to pay Stormy Daniels. 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.
Asked whether his principal intention in buying Karen McDougal’s story was to suppress it and prevent it from interfering in the election, Pecker told the court: “Yes it was.” Pecker said he bought McDougal story so it did not “hurt Trump campaign”. He said he worked with the former National Enquirer editor-in-chief Dylan Howard and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to facilitate the payment. “Don’t worry, I’m your friend. The boss [Trump] will take care of it,” Pecker recalled Cohen telling him after he expressed nervousness about the size of the payment.
The prosecution has accused the ex-president of “orchestrat[ing] a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election”. Trump’s defense says there was no crime committed because paying hush money is not illegal and neither is trying to influence the outcome of an election. But Pecker said things turned sour when he ultimately backed out of the agreement after talking with lawyers. Cohen was “very, very angry, screaming basically”, Pecker said. He recalled Cohen saying, “I can’t believe it, I’m a lawyer, I’m your friend, I don’t understand why you’re concerned.”
Prosecutors began the hearing submitting four new instances in which they say Trump violated the gag order in effect in the case. Two of them involved comments about Cohen he made earlier this week. The third involved comments he made about his perception about the partisan lean of the jury. The fourth involved comments this morning he made about Pecker. 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.
David Pecker, longtime chief executive of AMI, which owns the National Enquirer, returns to the witness stand today in Trump’s criminal trial. Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker said 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.
Pecker tells the court Michael Cohen said Trump would be “furious” over Pecker’s refusal to pay Stormy Daniels. 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.
Asked whether his principal intention in buying Karen McDougal’s story was to suppress it and prevent it from interfering in the election, Pecker told the court: “Yes it was.” Pecker said he bought McDougal story so it did not “hurt Trump campaign”. He said he worked with the former National Enquirer editor-in-chief Dylan Howard and Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen to facilitate the payment. “Don’t worry, I’m your friend. The boss [Trump] will take care of it,” Pecker recalled Cohen telling him after he expressed nervousness about the size of the payment.
The prosecution has accused the ex-president of “orchestrat[ing] a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election”. Trump’s defense says there was no crime committed because paying hush money is not illegal and neither is trying to influence the outcome of an election. But Pecker said things turned sour when he ultimately backed out of the agreement after talking with lawyers. Cohen was “very, very angry, screaming basically”, Pecker said. He recalled Cohen saying, “I can’t believe it, I’m a lawyer, I’m your friend, I don’t understand why you’re concerned.”
Prosecutors began the hearing submitting four new instances in which they say Trump violated the gag order in effect in the case. Two of them involved comments about Cohen he made earlier this week. The third involved comments he made about his perception about the partisan lean of the jury. The fourth involved comments this morning he made about Pecker. 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.
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; 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
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, 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.
14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.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?
10 April: a New York judge rejected, for the third straight day, Trump’s attempt to delay his hush -money trial.
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, 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.
14 April: Trump continued to attack the prosecutor, judge and a key witness in the trial against him.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?
10 April: a New York judge rejected, for the third straight day, Trump’s attempt to delay his hush -money trial.