Key points from the fourth day of testimony in Trump’s hush money trial | Donald Trump News

The fourth day of testimony in former US President Donald Trump’s New York hush money trial has concluded, with former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker facing hours of cross-examination by Trump’s defense team. There is.

Mr. Pecker on Friday answered further questions about what he testified was a “catch-and-kill” plan to hide damaging information about Mr. Trump in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The former president is charged with 34 felonies for falsifying business documents in connection with payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump, who is considered to be the 2024 Republican nominee, is accused of misrepresenting reimbursement to former lawyer Michael Cohen, who paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for his silence on the affair allegations. . President Trump has denied that there was an affair.

But prosecutors allege that the former president’s fraud was part of a larger criminal scheme to influence the 2016 vote in which Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Friday’s hearing began with President Trump’s lawyer Emile Bove continuing his cross-examination of Pecker, one of the prosecution’s star witnesses. Two other witnesses also took the stand.

Here are six points learned from the courtroom that day.

Pecker talks about the editing process at the 2015 conference

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Mr. Bove, on Friday asked the former National Enquirer publisher about a 2015 meeting he previously testified about.

Pecker previously said the meeting included discussions about publishing articles about Bill and Hillary Clinton and Trump’s opponents in the Republican presidential primary.

Pecker said the move is good for the tabloids’ business. He added that the Enquirer published negative articles about the Clintons before it began coordinating with the Trump campaign because those articles performed well.

Bove also said that much of the Enquirer’s negative coverage of Trump’s political opponents, which prosecutors suggested was evidence of collusion, was abridged from news stories from other news outlets. I also tried to show that it was nothing more than something I had done.

Pecker said reusing information from other sources is cost-effective and makes good business sense.

Later, Mr. Bove also claimed that the National Enquirer’s parent company, not Mr. Trump or his then-lawyer Mr. Cohen, had filed a lawsuit against Mr. Trump as a right against unsubstantiated claims that he had fathered a child with an employee. He said he paid a former Trump Tower doorman $30,000 in 2015.

Pecker previously thought the Enquirer would make a huge tabloid story if it was accurate, but ultimately concluded the story was “1000% false.” He testified that he did not post it. Both Trump and the women involved deny the charges.

Bove asked if he was going to cover the story if it were true. Pecker answered, “Yes.”

The term “catch and kill” was not used at the 2015 conference

Mr. Pecker also previously testified to the National Enquirer in August 2015 that he and Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen hatched a plan to support Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

But under questioning from Trump’s lawyers on Friday, Pecker acknowledged that the term “catch-and-kill” was not mentioned at that meeting. The term refers to the practice of tabloid newspapers buying the rights to articles and keeping them from seeing the light of day.

Pecker said the meeting also didn’t discuss “economic aspects,” such as the National Enquirer paying people for rights to stories on behalf of President Trump.

Contract with Karen McDougall

Defense questioning then turned to the contract between American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer, and former Playboy model Karen McDougall.

Mr. Bove sought to discover the true intentions of both Mr. McDougall and the Enquirer, who signed him to a $150,000 contract in 2016.

The deal gives American Media, where Pecker was CEO from 1999 to 2020, exclusive rights to any relationship between McDougall and “a man to whom she was married at the time,” and gives Pecker The provisions testified specifically concerned Mr. Trump. She claims that in 2006 and 2007 she had an affair. Mr. Trump denies that.

The deal also called for McDougall to appear on magazine covers and, with the help of ghostwriters, produce columns and other content on fitness and aging for various American media titles.

Earlier this week, Pecker testified that the content provision was essentially a deal to prevent McDougal’s story from becoming public and potentially affecting Trump’s chances of becoming president. .

But on Friday, a former publisher said McDougal was looking to restart her career and came forward via video conference as a place where American Media could help her. In fact, the company ended up operating more than 65 stories under her name, he said.

“Did you believe there was a legitimate business purpose?” Bove asked Pecker when American Media signed the contract with her.

“I did,” said the former publisher.

Lorna Graf, who started working for Mr. Trump in 1987 and left the Trump Organization in April 2021, was the next witness to testify after Mr. Pecker. She is said to be Trump’s gatekeeper and right-hand man.

Ms. Graf testified Friday that she had seen Mr. Daniels at Trump Tower before Mr. Daniels ran for president. She said she heard President Trump say he was interested in casting her on the reality show “The Apprentice,” which he hosts.

Mr. Graf also said that contact information for Mr. Daniels and Mr. McDougall is maintained on the Trump Organization’s Outlook computer system.

“I’ve never experienced the same day twice. It was a very exciting, exciting, fascinating place,” she said of her 34 years at the Trump Organization. Graf also described Trump as a “fair” and “respectable” boss.

The trial will hear from a third witness.

Gary Faro, who worked as a personal client advisor at Flagstar Bank and previously worked at Cohen’s bank, First Republic Bank, was the third witness in the trial.

Mr. Faro testified Friday that Mr. Cohen had multiple personal accounts at First Republic when Mr. Faro took over client relationships in 2015. Mr. Faro also detailed bank transactions he had made with Mr. Cohen, according to U.S. media reports about his testimony.

“I was told that I was chosen because of my knowledge and ability to work with individuals who may be a little difficult,” Faro said.

“Frankly, I didn’t think he was that difficult,” he added.

On April 26, President Trump left Trump Tower to attend his trial in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City. [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

Gag order hearing next week

Meanwhile, Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the New York case, said he will hold a hearing next Thursday on whether President Trump violated the gag order in the case.

Prosecutors are seeking punishment for former President Trump on suspicion of violating an executive order that prohibits him from publicly criticizing witnesses, some court officials and their relatives.

Trump could face a $1,000 fine or jail time for each violation, but prosecutors say they are not seeking jail time at this time.

The trial will resume next Tuesday.

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