Tabloid publisher testifies Donald Trump Asked to ‘Help the Campaign’

Tabloid publisher testifies Donald Trump Asked to ‘Help the Campaign’

The jury heard testimony about claims made by the prosecution of a conspiracy to stifle unfavourable news, including claims made by a porn star that she had a sexual encounter with Donald Trump. On Thursday, the former National Enquirer publisher will resume his testimony.

The criminal trial of Donald J. Trump began on Tuesday with a heated discussion about a gag order between Justice Juan M. Merchan and Mr. Trump’s main counsel. In conclusion, it provided an overview of a tabloid newspaper practice known as “catch and kill.”

Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Trump had “willfully and blatantly” disregarded a gag order preventing him from attacking jurors and witnesses, among others, through comments made outside the courtroom and online, potentially warranting contempt of court.

Mr. Trump‘s lead lawyer argued that Mr. Trump was merely defending himself from political attacks. Although Justice Merchan refrained from ruling, he admonished the attorney, Todd Blanche, stating, “you’re losing all credibility with the court.”

David Pecker, a former ally of Mr. Trump and ex-publisher of The National Enquirer, subsequently testified about purchasing and burying unfavorable stories about Mr. Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, describing it as “highly, highly confidential.”

Mr. Trump, aged 77, faces 34 felony charges for falsifying business records to conceal a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to suppress a sex scandal. Ms. Daniels, potentially a witness, alleges a brief sexual encounter with Mr. Trump in 2006, a claim he denies.

Here are five key points from Mr. Trump’s sixth day on trial:

Pecker details “catch-and-kill”

During his second day on the stand, Mr. Pecker detailed a longstanding friendship with Mr. Trump, deepened in 2015, including joint efforts with Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, to promote positive stories about Mr. Trump and negative stories about his rivals.

Mr. Pecker recounted a “catch-and-kill” arrangement, where The National Enquirer paid $30,000 to suppress a false story about Mr. Trump fathering a child out of wedlock, citing potential embarrassment to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Pecker’s testimony provided insights into an earlier New York era, characterized by landlines, influential tabloids, and popular television shows like “The Apprentice,” enhancing Mr. Trump’s national profile.

Trump’s legal constraints may tighten

Prosecutors argued that Mr. Trump repeatedly violated the gag order, including an alleged nine-minute tirade against Michael Cohen outside the courtroom.

While Mr. Blanche defended Mr. Trump’s responses to political attacks, Justice Merchan cautioned against further breaches. Prosecutors expressed a preference for fines rather than incarceration if Mr. Trump were found in contempt.

Pivotal day ahead for Trump

While court is adjourned on Wednesday, Mr. Pecker’s direct examination will resume on Thursday. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump faces a significant day in both New York and Washington, with his attorneys arguing in front of the Supreme Court for presidential immunity in a federal election interference case, a request denied by Justice Merchan.

Trump’s frustration evident

Mr. Trump remained composed during prosecutors’ arguments but became animated during exchanges between Mr. Blanche and Justice Merchan. He vocally expressed his displeasure after the hearing, accusing Justice Merchan of stifling his freedom of speech.


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