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.


Trump loses latest bid for new E Jean Carroll defamation trial

Donald Trump has lost his bid for a new trial in the E Jean Carroll defamation case.

Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the motion this morning.

Oliver O’Connell25 April 2024 17:33


Steinglass asks Pecker about the Wall Street Journal news item that broke the story about Donald Trump and Karen McDougal and the National Enquirer’s role in hushing up the scandal.

“I received first a text from Michael Cohen saying the boss wants to speak with you,” Pecker says.

“Donald Trump then called me … He was very upset, saying how could this happen, I thought you had this under control.”

The call ended abruptly, Pecker says. Trump didn’t tell him goodbye.

Pecker says he authorised false public statements from AMI about the true nature of the McDougal deal. “I wanted to protect my company, I wanted to protect myself, and I wanted also to protect Donald Trump.”

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 17:30


“I set up a Signal call, so it was Michael Cohen, myself and Dylan Howard, and Dylan Howard was very aggressive with Michael Cohen on the phone. … And Michael Cohen says I should pay … I said Michael, my suggestion to you is you should buy this story, and you should take it off the market because if you don’t and it gets out, I believe the boss will be very angry with you.”

Cohen recommended that they use Signal any time they talked, Pecker says.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 17:20


Howard text: “Spoke to MC. All sorted. Now removed. No fingerprints. I’ll recap with you face to face.”

Pecker text: “Great work Thx”

Pecker testifies that he believed “no fingerprints” meant that “American Media would have no association with the story” and “there was no paper trail.”

When Cohen asked Pecker to purchase the story, “I said I am not going to purchase the story. I am not going to be involved with the story. … I am not going to be a bank. We’re not paying out any more monies.”

“He was upset, he said the boss would be furious with me, and that I should go forward in purchasing it myself.”

He told Howard to “stay out of it.”

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 17:17


Here’s a sample of the texts.

Howard: “Woman wants 120K. Has offers from Mail and GMA want her to talk and do lie detector live. I know the denials were made in the past – but this story is true. I can lock it on publication now to shut down the media chatter and we can assess next steps thereafter, ok?”

Pecker: “We can’t pay 120k.”

Pecker testified that he told Howard by phone that he did “not want the National Enquirer associated with a porn star” because Walmart was one of its largest distributors.

Howard: “OK. They’d need to handle. Perhaps I can [call] Michael and advise him and he can take it from there, and handle.”

Pecker: “Yes a good idea.”

Pecker on the stand: “I thought the story that Dylan was describing could be very damaging, it should come off the market, and if anyone was going to buy it, Michael Cohen and Donald Trump should buy it.”

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 17:12


Pecker testimony moves on to Stormy Daniels

Prosecution attorney Joshua Steinglass asks: “Do you know someone named Stephanie Clifford?”

Pecker was “having dinner with my wife” on a Saturday night in early October, “and I received an urgent call from Dylan Howard.”

“He received a call from his two best sources — Keith Davidson … and this other source Jimmy Rodriguez who is an agent for celebrities,” alerting him to Stormy Daniels, who is “trying to sell a story that she had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump.”

Howard said they could snatch it up for $120,000 “if we make the decision right now.”

Saturday October 8 2016, the same day Howard emailed Pecker about the Radar Online post.

We’re shown a ton of frantic late-night texts between Howard and Pecker on October 9.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 17:08


We’re hearing about the Access Hollywood tape. Reminder: Jurors aren’t allowed to watch it, but attorneys can describe the contents.

It appears that Trump’s eyes are closed.

He’s moving around in his chair and bending his head to hear, so it looks as if he’s still listening.

Pecker says Cohen called him to take down a post on Radar Online showing Trump at the Playboy mansion. Trump was “very upset”.

We see an email from Dylan Howard on 8 October 2016 (one month before Election Day) noting that the Radar Online post was posted in 2008, before AMI owned it.

“Nevertheless, I have deleted the text story completely. It no longer exists,” Howard wrote.

The post titled was “Donald Trump, Playboy Man”

Pecker says he has never known Trump to use email.

Alex Woodward25 April 2024 17:02


‘The boss will take care of it’: Tabloid boss testifies to Trump’s plan to bury Playboy model’s affair allegations

Alex Woodward reporting from inside the courtroom where the former president is on trial…

A former tabloid publisher said he agreed to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy politically compromising stories about Donald Trump with the assurance that “the boss will take care of it.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m your friend. The boss will take care of it,” Cohen told him, according to Mr Pecker.

Oliver O’Connell25 April 2024 17:00


Court resumes

Court is back in session after a short break.

Alex Woodward continues to report from the courtroom for The Independent:

We’re hearing text messages from Dylan Howard suggesting that Trump would pardon him for election fraud. The judge is going to think about whether they can be included.

“The fact that they came off an AMI device is to me of no consequence,” he says.

Pecker and the jury aren’t present.

Steinglass says the prosecution has two-three hours left with Pecker. That’ll take them through the day, most likely.

Pecker returns to the stand and the jury is brought back in.

Oliver O’Connell25 April 2024 16:49


Trump vows to beat Biden in New York

Donald Trump vowed to beat President Joe Biden in the 2024 election in New York as he made a surprise campaign stop at a construction site in Manhattan early on Thursday morning – on a day when testimony resumes in his hush money trial and the US Supreme Court hears arguments in his “presidential immunity” case.

“We’re going to make a play for New York,” Mr Trump told reporters at the event.

Oliver O’Connell25 April 2024 16:45

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