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What to remember from the sixth day of the criminal trial over Donald Trump's money

What to remember from the sixth day of the criminal trial over Donald Trump's money


CNN New York —

Judge Juan Merchan appeared ready Tuesday to sanction Donald Trump for violating the silence order in his criminal hush money case after bombarding the former president's lawyers with questions about why Trump's posts on social media was okay.

Tuesday began with a hearing on the 10 alleged violations of Trump's silence order, and it ended with former American Media Inc. chief David Pecker explaining how he looked into the allegations of an alleged affair between Trump and his Playboy playmate, Karen McDougal, in 2016, while he was in constant communication. with Michael Cohen, then Trump fixer. (Trump has denied the affair.)

Even with an abbreviated day for the Passover holiday, violations of the order of silence and testimony about capture-and-kill deals aimed at burying negative stories about Trump during the 2016 election contributed to a day frustrating in court for Trump, who was outraged by media coverage of the trial and the limits of the judges' silence order.

Pecker will return to the helm Thursday after dark falls on the field Wednesday. He spoke now about two of the three catch-and-kill deals, but not about adult film star Stormy Daniels, which will likely take place on Thursday.

Here are the takeaways from Tuesday in court:

Merchan issued a gag order before the trial began, preventing Trump from publicly discussing witnesses, the jury or district attorney staff. Merchan extended the order, which Trump appealed, to cover his own family after Trump attacked his daughter.

He has yet to rule on the district attorneys' motion to sanction Trump for allegedly violating the silence order, but it was not difficult to convey the justices' feelings.

Merchan rejected explanations offered by Trump lawyer Todd Blanche for the offending posts, after Trump's lawyer tried to argue that posts about Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen were political and not about politics. affair.

When Blanche tried to argue that Trump's response to a Cohen article about Michael Avenatti, Daniel's former lawyer, was political because it talked about pardons, the judge became frustrated.

So is forgiveness what makes it political? Merchan asked Blanche.

Of course, Blanche responded.

When your client violates an order of silence, I expect more than one word, Mercan said after Blanche argued the pardons were political in nature.

Merchan also pressed Blanche's intentions over Trump's intentions, after Trump's lawyer argued that other people's rebroadcasts of Truth Social were not necessarily subject to the gag order.

It is your client's position that when he reposted he did not believe he was violating the gag order. I would like to hear that. Or do you just want me to accept it because you say so? Merchan asked Blanche shortly before the hearing ended.

Mercan did not say when he would govern. The prosecutor is asking the judge to fine Trump $1,000 for each violation, and to remind him that additional violations could result in jail time.

Tensions continued to grow between Trump's legal team and the trial judge during the hush order hearing.

Merchan repeatedly asked Blanche to clarify examples of when Trump was specifically responding to Cohen and Daniels' attacks on social media and became visibly frustrated when Blanche did not comply.

You haven't presented anything, Merchan said to Blanche. I asked you eight or nine times [to] show me the exact message he was responding to. You couldn't do it even once.

President Trump is very careful to comply with your order, Blanche said at one point.

You lose all credibility with the court, Merchan replied.

Last week, Merchan stood by prosecutors when they refused to tell Trump's legal team about their witness list, saying he understood the sentiment over Trump's attacks on social media.

Last Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Josh Steinglass said he wouldn't risk subjecting trial witnesses to Trump's wrath on social media.

When Blanche claimed he could promise that Trump would not reveal or discuss witnesses on deck to testify, Merchan retorted: I don't think you can make that statement.

Pecker, who led American Media Inc. during the 2016 election, testified for about two and a half hours Tuesday, telling jurors how he worked with Michael Cohen on Trump's behalf to squash unflattering stories during the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, Pecker testified about the catch-and-kill deals involving McDougal and Trump's gatekeeper. He said he met with Trump and Cohen in 2015, where he agreed to be the eyes and ears of the campaign and to be wary of negative stories.

At the meeting, Donald Trump and Michael asked me what I could do and what my magazines could do to help the campaign, Pecker testified. I would post or publish positive articles about Mr. Trump and I would publish negative articles about his opponents.

“A deep betrayal”: Stelter reacts to Pecker’s testimony on Trump

Although ultimately Pecker was not directly involved in the $130,000 payment to Daniels, his role is important in prosecutors' case because it establishes that there was a pattern of payments made to hide unflattering stories about Trump during the 2016 election.

I think it was a mutual benefit. It would help his campaign and it would help me too, Pecker said of the deal.

Pecker placed Cohen at the heart of the alleged capture and kill plot on Tuesday. He testified that Cohen was the go-between and Trump who had been spreading Pecker's media articles since 2007.

At the Trump Tower meeting in August 2015, Pecker said he would brief Cohen on negative stories.

“Anything I hear about the market – if I hear anything negative about yourself or if I hear anything about women selling stories, I would let Michael Cohen know like I did at over the last few years,” Pecker said. He might then have them published in another magazine or not publish them, or someone might have to buy them.

During Trump's campaign in 2015 and 2016, Pecker said Cohen would also pitch stories on Trump's political opponents and offer commentary on the boss's behalf, as Cohen referred to Trump.

Michael Cohen would call me and say, 'We'd like you to publish a negative article about a certain, let's say, for argument's sake Ted Cruz,'” Pecker said. Then he, Michael Cohen, would send me information about Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio and that would be the basis of our story and then we would embellish it from there.




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