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Trump on trial: the head of the National Enquirer talks about Trump | Donald Trump

Trump on trial: the head of the National Enquirer talks about Trump |  Donald Trump


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On file: Pecker says it all

David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, returned to the witness stand Tuesday as a prosecution witness and told jurors how he coordinated with Donald Trump and his team to bury scandals surrounding the presidential candidate. the time during the 2016 campaign.

Pecker explained how he repeatedly paid to buy articles about Trump's alleged marital infidelities before preventing them from coming to light. A scheme known as catch-and-kill that prosecutors say Trump illegally falsified business records to cover up to help his presidential campaign. .

Pecker said he had a great relationship with Trump dating back to the late 1980s, then spent the next few hours of his testimony condemning him with not-so-low praise.

Pecker described Trump as very competent, very detail-oriented, very careful and very frugal, and almost a micromanager in his business dealings. These additional descriptions hurt Trump because prosecutors must prove that Trump had direct knowledge of the scheme to reimburse his lawyer Michael Cohen for his payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels by falsely characterizing them as business expenses.

Pecker then discussed a meeting he had at Trump Tower in 2015 with Trump, Cohen and Hope Hicks, a senior Trump campaign official, where they asked him what he could do to help the campaign .

He promised to be the eyes and ears of the campaign to uncover women selling stories about Trump and work to kill them, as Trump was well known as the most eligible bachelor and dated the most beautiful women (another an unnecessary compliment for Trump, who had been married to his third wife, Melania, for a decade at that point). He then testified that he regularly coordinated with Cohen at Trump's request to publish negative stories about Trump's political enemies. It is a misdemeanor under New York law to conspire to promote another's election by illegal means.

Pecker then followed two plans to catch and kill these stories. The first involved paying Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudin $30,000 for the rights to a story about Trump fathering a child with a housekeeper who worked in the building. When Pecker told Cohen that the Enquirer would pay the fee itself (even though he hadn't planned to publish the story), he said Cohen told him the boss would be very happy.

Pecker then testified that he purchased the rights to the story from Karen McDougal, a former model who claims to have had an affair with Trump.

Pecker said Trump called him once about McDougal, but most of his interactions were with Cohen.

Michael was very agitated, it looked like he was under a lot of pressure, Pecker said shortly before court adjourned for the day.

Pecker will return to the witness stand when the trial resumes Thursday. He will likely finish testifying about McDougal and explain his role in connecting the Trump team to Stormy Daniels.

Judge rips Trump lawyer during contempt hearing . Donald Trump's defense attorney Todd Blanche speaks before Judge Juan Merchan during a hearing to discuss a silence order. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

On Tuesday morning, before the trial resumed with Peckers' testimony, Judge Juan Merchan held a hearing to determine whether he should hold Trump in contempt for repeatedly violating his silence order barring the former president from attack potential witnesses and jurors.

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As Hugo Lowell reported from the courtroom, this did not go well for Trump's team.

Merchan was deeply skeptical of Trump lawyer Todd Blanche's arguments, expressing frustration that Blanche would not answer his questions about Trump's specific social media posts and chastising him for his arguments.

Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility, I have to tell you right away, Mercan said at one point. You lose all credibility with the court.

Prosecutors had highlighted 10 different social media posts by Trump in which he attacked likely witnesses, including Cohen and Daniels, and reposted attacks on the jury itself. They also said they would file documents on an 11th example: Trump left court Monday and immediately went on camera to attack Cohen by name. They said they would not seek jail time for these violations, but asked Merchan to fine Trump a statutory maximum of $1,000 for each violation.

Blanche's arguments that Trump was allowed to respond to political attacks, and that in some cases he was simply sharing others' comments, did not convince Merchan.

Give me one. Give me a recent attack he was responding to, Merchan said when Blanche said Trump was just responding the same way.

Merchan did not issue a ruling on whether he despised Trump.

But Trump was no less furious. After the day closed, the former president complained to reporters that the completely unconstitutional gag order prevented him from attacking likely witnesses.

They can say whatever they want, they can lie, but I have no right to say anything. I just have to sit back and look at why a conflicted judge ordered me to shut up, he said.




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