HomeWorldTrump trial live: David Pecker testifies about Stormy Daniels hush money payment

Trump trial live: David Pecker testifies about Stormy Daniels hush money payment


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Donald Trump meets New Yorkers before resuming hush money trial

Donald Trump made a surprise campaign stop at a construction site in New York early on Thursday morning en route to day seven of his hush money trial, where the jury is hearing further testimony from a former tabloid mogul who detailed the “catch-and-kill” scheme central to the case.

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified on Tuesday about his agreement with Mr Trump and former attorney Michael Cohen to “kill” stories about the defendant’s alleged affairs.

New York Justice Juan Merchan may also rule today on whether Mr Trump should be held in contempt and fined $10,000 for allegedly violating a trial gag order by posting about witnesses and jurors on Truth Social.

Elsewhere, 11 local Republicans and several key Trump allies have been indicted in Arizona for allegedly joining a failed “fake elector” plot during the aftermath of the 2020 election to falsely certify Mr Trump’s victory in the state.

And, in Washington DC, attorneys for the former president will today deliver oral arguments in front of the US Supreme Court in support of his “presidential immunity” defence against prosecution in what promises to be a landmark hearing.

Alex Woodward is providing live updates from the courthouse in Manhattan.


Sounds like we’re winding down with Pecker.

Steinglass asks him if he has any bad feelings about Trump.

“On the contrary,” he said. “I felt that Donald Trump was my mentor. He helped me throughout my career.”

He mentions an incident in Boca Raton in the wake of 9/11 when one of his editors inhaled anthrax and died.

“The first person who called me if I needed help was Donald Trump,” Pecker said. “I have no ill will at all. Even though we haven’t spoken, I still consider him a friend.”

Both sets of attorneys approach the bench and speak with Judge Merchan.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 20:23


Pecker is reading his agreement with the DA’s office to speak on 25 October 2019 to discuss his meetings with Trump and Cohen and his transactions with McDougal, Cohen, and Daniels.

He’s also reading the part of the agreement about the “materially false or incomplete information” that could compromise his immunity.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 20:19


The agreement between the authorities and Pecker’s company acknowledges that the federal government “will not criminally prosecute” AMI for any crimes alleged in a period between August 2015 and October 2016 for what could be considered unlawful campaign contributions and expenditures.

That campaign of course was Donald Trump’s.

The agreement mentions the $150,000 payment to McDougal, which was made “in cooperation, consultation, and in concert with and at the request and suggestion of one or more members or agents” of Trump’s campaign.

It also mentions the Trump Tower meeting in August 2015 to purchase negative stories and have their publication “avoided”.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 20:02


Pecker continues by explaining that then the feds came calling.

The Federal Election Commission alerted AMI to its campaign finance activities. Cohen called Pecker, telling him that Jeff Sessions is the attorney general, and “Trump has him in his pocket”.

AMI ultimately entered into a nonprosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York in September 2018.

Judge Merchan is instructing jurors that the agreement should be considered to assess Pecker’s credibility, not as evidence of guilt or implication in any criminal scheme.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 19:54


Then Stormy appeared on Anderson Cooper.

“When Mr Trump called me and he asked me if I saw the Stormy Daniels story … he said, We have an agreement with Stormy Daniels that she cannot mention my name or do anything like this, and each time she breaches the agreement, it’s a $1m penalty,” according to Pecker.

Based on that broadcast, “Stormy Daniels owes Donald Trump $24m.”

“That’s what he told me,” Pecker said.

Trump has been scrunching his face while looking at Pecker.

He’s still slouching in his chair, his red tie floating on his stomach. Blanche is whispering to him. Trump is frowning and nodding.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 19:52


He then joined a call with Trump, Hope Hicks, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then White House press secretary.

“On that call, what I was planning to do, and I mentioned on a previous call with Mr Trump, I was going to extend Karen McDougal’s contract. I felt from that last lunch that I had with her that we fulfill some of the obligations she was looking for … He thought that was also a bad idea. So when I received the second call, when I got the call back, and Hope Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she was on the call, I explained to them, to the two of them, why I was going to extend her agreement. And both of them said that was a good idea.”

McDougal ultimately sued AMI to get her lifetime rights. Pecker settled, and “I returned her lifetime rights.”

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 19:49


Fast forward to March 2018 and McDougal’s interview with Anderson Cooper.

Trump called Pecker the next day.

“He said to me, he said, ‘Did you see the interview last night with Anderson Cooper and Karen McDougal? … I thought you had, and we had, an agreement with Karen McDougal that she can’t give any interviews or be on any television shows’.

“I said ‘yes we had an agreement but I amended it to allow her to speak to the press’.

“Mr Trump got very angry that I amended it and he couldn’t understand why. Karen has a two-year agreement. She was flooded with requests from the press. … And I amended her agreement at the time. He was very upset. Couldn’t understand why I did it.”

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 19:45


Trump claims supporters can’t protest his trial, and yet these people did…

People hold a protest timed to coordinate with US Supreme Court hearing about former President Donald Trump’s claims of immunity from prosecution outside of the New York State Supreme Court during his ongoing criminal trial (EPA)

Here’s our reporting on the former president’s dubious claims about his supporters:

Oliver O’Connell25 April 2024 19:45


Pecker had lunch with Karen McDougal, Keith Davidson and Dylan Howard at Il Pastino where she talked “about the articles she was preparing with ghostwriters” and that she was upset that “articles were taking a while, she hasn’t been trained for media training because she wanted to be that anchor on the red carpet for Radar”.

“For my standpoint, the purpose of the meeting was to make sure she’s compliant with the agreement,” Pecker said. “I wanted her to remain within our [long pause] family.”

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 19:41


Trump invited Pecker to the White House for a “thank you dinner.”

“He invited myself and my wife. She didn’t want to go to Washington.”

“Mr Trump asked me to join him in a walk from the Oval Office to the dining area … as we walked out, President Trump asked me how is Karen doing? So I said she’s doing well, she’s quiet, things are going good.”

Dylan Howard texted Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal’s attorney Keith Davidson on 12 July 2017: “Surreal last night”.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 19:39

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