6 lessons learned from Trump immunity hearings and New York hush money trial | Donald Trump News

Former US President Donald Trump on Thursday moved forward with two of the four criminal cases against him.

In New York, President Trump is back in court in a lawsuit related to hush money he paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election in which he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He is charged with 35 felony counts of falsifying business documents, which prosecutors allege were part of a larger criminal scheme to influence voting.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding President Trump’s claim of immunity from federal prosecution in a separate case related to his alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. President Trump has argued that he should be immune from prosecution because the charges relate to actions he took while president.

Here are the highlights from Thursday’s proceedings:

Tabloid publishers knew ‘catch-and-kill’ payments violated campaign laws

In a lawsuit in New York, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker said he knew his efforts to buy and suppress negative stories about Trump violated federal election law. Ta.

In the United States, companies are required to report payments made in conjunction with election campaigns. Mr. Pecker previously testified that he used his position to become the campaign’s “eyes and ears,” buying up unflattering stories and agreeing to kill them before they could be published. In a meeting between Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen, he said the three planned to suppress politically harmful topics.

Mr. Pecker specifically mentioned that he paid model Karen McDougal $150,000 for an article about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump. When asked if his intention in purchasing the article was to influence the outcome of the election, he replied: “Yes, it was.”

The 34 tampering charges against Trump relate specifically to payments to Daniels, but prosecutors will spend the early days of witness testimony trying to establish a broader pattern of Trump’s involvement in election fraud. I have been trying.

Pecker says President Trump wasn’t worried about his family finding out about his alleged affair.

The publisher said it had never seen President Trump express concern about the potential harm McDougal and Daniels’ alleged affair could cause his family.

Rather, under cross-examination by prosecutors, he said he believed the damage control attempt was purely political. “I think it was for a campaign.”

In fact, Pecker told prosecutors that Trump never mentioned his family when discussing the alleged affair.

This argument undermines one of the central tenets of the defense’s argument: that the payments to Mr. Daniels were intended to prevent personal, not political, harm to Mr. Trump.

Prosecutors allege Trump also violated the gag order

Prosecutors are waiting for Judge Juan Melchán to rule on charges that Trump violated partial gag orders at least 10 times. A judge earlier barred President Trump from speaking publicly about individuals involved in the incident.

Prosecutors said Trump has violated the order four times since seeking sanctions on Tuesday.

These included two new attacks directed at Cohen by President Trump during his speech to the press. President Trump also described the jury as “95% Democrats,” another alleged violation.

Prosecutors also argued that calling Pecker a “nice guy” during Thursday’s campaign stop amounted to a form of intimidation. The statement was intended to send a message to Mr. Pecker and other witnesses to be kind to Mr. Trump or face consequences, they said.

Defense’s cross-examination begins

Thursday’s proceedings concluded with Pecker’s cross-examination by Trump’s lawyer Emile Bove.

In the first part of the interrogation, he attempted to portray the “catch and kill” plan as “standard operating procedure.”

Pecker has covered up reports on behalf of Rahm Emanuel, a former Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff to Barack Obama, and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It pointed out. Pecker’s cross-examination was scheduled to continue Friday.

The Supreme Court appears poised to reject President Trump’s argument.

During a day of questioning, the U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical of President Trump’s argument that all official conduct in the White House should be protected by absolute immunity.

Otherwise, it could become common for former presidents to be prosecuted for unpopular policy decisions, Trump’s lawyer John Sauer argued.

In response, Justice Elena Kagan asked whether a former president could escape prosecution even if he ordered a coup or sold nuclear secrets. Sauer said the prosecution of the former president may not be allowed if it is determined to be an official act.

“That’s certainly disgusting, isn’t it?” Kagan replied.

President Trump’s federal lawsuit likely to be delayed

Thursday’s proceedings showed that the Supreme Court is unlikely to issue a decision quickly.

Prosecutors are seeking a speedy decision so the federal case can go to trial before the November election.

The Supreme Court typically issues its final opinion by the end of June, about four months before an election. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the trial, said pretrial matters could take up to three months. The case could also be sent back to a lower court.

Justice Samuel Alito emphasized the gravity of the case Thursday, saying, “Every decision we make applies to all future presidents.”

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