David Pecker testifies about election-year hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal

by Admin
David Pecker testifies about election-year hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal

The former publisher of the National Enquirer told a jury about negotiations in 2016 with two women looking to sell their stories about alleged sexual relationships with then presidential candidate Donald Trump. This is Yahoo News’ succinct update on the criminal and civil cases against Trump. Here are the latest developments.

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker resumed his testimony Thursday in Trump’s trial on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He detailed hush money payment negotiations with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom sought to sell their stories alleging an extramarital affair with Trump. During questioning by prosecutors, Pecker said he had sought to promote Trump’s candidacy in 2016 despite knowing that such an arrangement violated campaign finance laws. During cross-examination, Trump’s lawyers portrayed those efforts as “standard operating procedure.”

Payment to McDougal: Pecker testified about the $150,000 contract McDougal signed with the Enquirer for the exclusive rights to her story about a sexual affair with Trump. The contract, which was signed three months before the 2016 presidential election, stemmed from the deal Pecker reached with Trump in 2015 to promote his presidential candidacy. Pecker testified that he knew the deal was illegal, made it anyway in order to protect Trump and later lied about doing so. Pecker described asking Trump lawyer Michael Cohen who would pay the contract fee to McDougal. He said Cohen responded, “The boss will take care of it,” in reference to Trump. Later, however, he said Cohen told him that the magazine should pay. Pecker said the Enquirer disguised the payment as a fee for McDougal’s services to the magazine to avoid breaking campaign finance laws. During a 2017 meeting with Trump, Pecker said, the president-elect asked him, “How’s our girl doing?” He then thanked him for “handling the McDougal situation.” During a second meeting at the White House in July 2017, Trump asked, “How is Karen doing?” Pecker testified.

Payment to Daniels: Pecker testified that after he had already paid McDougal $150,000 and former Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudin $30,000 to bury a later debunked story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock, he refused to pay Daniels $120,000 in October of 2016 for the exclusive rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. He said he told Cohen that he should pay her if he wanted to keep it from going public. “I am not going to be involved with a porn star,” Pecker said he told Cohen, adding that if Cohen didn’t pay Daniels to keep quiet and the story was published elsewhere, “I believe the boss is going to be very angry with you.” Cohen ended up paying Daniels $130,000 for her silence, and she signed a nondisclosure agreement. After Daniels gave an interview on CNN, Trump told Pecker that she had violated the agreement and owed him $24 million, Pecker testified. Prosecutors allege that the payments to McDougal and Daniels were made as part of a conspiracy to promote Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and were in violation of campaign finance laws. In 2018, the Federal Election Commission sent letters to Cohen and Pecker asking for information. “We committed a campaign violation,” Pecker said he told Cohen, who reportedly responded, “Jeff Sessions is the attorney general and Donald Trump has him in his pocket.” After leaving the National Enquirer’s parent company, Pecker signed a cooperation agreement with the Manhattan district attorney’s office that spares him from being prosecuted in this case.

Cross-examination of Pecker: Defense lawyer Emil Bove sought to show that the National Enquirer’s deal with Trump to purchase and bury negative stories was “standard operating procedure” for a tabloid newspaper. Pecker testified that the Enquirer had also suppressed stories for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Mark Wahlberg and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He told the jury that he had informed Trump about negative stories prior to Trump’s decision to run for president in 2016, and that another reason the Enquirer refrained from publishing negative stories about Trump was that doing so was good for business.

Meanwhile: As Trump listened to Pecker’s testimony, Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversaw E. Jean Carroll’s civil trial against Trump, denied a motion to overturn the $83.3 million judgment in that case and grant him a new trial. In Washington, Trump’s lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that presidential immunity protects him from being prosecuted for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Trump’s lawyers will continue their cross-examination of Pecker on Friday. Court will resume at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Source Link

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.