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Trump's hush money trial continues with testimony from tabloid publisher

David Pecker, publisher and owner of the National Enquirer, was on the stand for a third straight day.
Trump Hush Money
Posted at 5:24 AM, Apr 25, 2024

Former President Donald Trump was back in a New York City courtroom Thursday as his criminal trial over alleged hush money payments continued.

The jury continued to hear expert testimony from former publisher and owner of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, who promised to be Trump’s “eyes and ears” during his 2016 presidential campaign, according to The Associated Press.

The alleged hush money payments were said to have been made to cover up a damaging story about the former president with a porn star on the eve of the 2016 election.

Pecker, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s first witness, was now on the stand for a third straight day.

Bragg claims Trump falsified records to hide payments to attorney Michael Cohen that were meant for porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, as well as a former doorman at Trump Towner.

Pecker testified about Daniels and McDougal Thursday, but questioning was not over. A lot of the focus had been about intimidation tactics of the former president. Trump was accused of pushing Pecker to purchase the stories before they got out.

When Pecker was asked about purchasing Daniels’ story, he said he would not purchase it and get involved with a porn star. But Pecker later testified that Cohen said Trump would be angry if he didn’t do what was asked of him.

There was also focus on Thursday on a-catch-and-kill scheme to purchase and the suppress McDougal’s story. Pecker said Cohen is the one who suggested that he buy that story.

A big part of the morning related to McDougal's story focused on Pecker not being reimbursed immediately for it, which later hampered his desire to purchase Daniels’ story. There seemed to be a big discrepancy about who was going to pay for McDougal’s story.

At one point, Cohen said “the boss would take care of it,” essentially referring to Trump. Pecker later testified that he expected to be paid back for the money that he sent, and that he was later unwilling to buy the Stormy Daniels story because of the way things played out with the Karen McDougal story.

When court broke for lunch, Trump did not address the media.

Before Pecker’s testimony Thursday, prosecutors asked the judge if Trump had violated his gag order because of remarks made outside of court. This comes after the former president had been criticizing the judge on social media, which is not considered a violation.

Prosecutors will likely continue to file such motions against Trump.

While this trial continues, a Supreme Court in D.C. is hearing arguments over whether Trump can be prosecuted for his actions while he was serving as president.