NY vs. Trump: First witness takes the stand in Manhattan court

Former President Trump’s historic trial in Manhattan heard its first witness called by the district attorney’s office on Monday, former publisher David Pecker. Pecker previously served as chairman of the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., and allegedly was a key figure in a “catch and kill” scheme ahead of the 2016 election.Pecker, 72, took the stand early Monday afternoon ahead of the trial concluding for the day at 12:30. He spoke to the court about American Media Inc. and its various publications, as well as his personal background and how he owned 10% of American Media when he served as CEO. The court broke out into chuckles when the prosecution team asked Pecker to provide the last four digits of his phone numbers, with Pecker rattling off four different sets of contact numbers. Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass responded “sorry this isn’t a quiz,” sparking laughter from Pecker and others in the courthouse. Pecker told the court he worked for the company from March 1999 to August 2020, serving as chairman, president and CEO from 2015-2017. TRUMP TRIAL: OPENING ARGUMENTS TO BEGIN AS TRUMP FLOUTS GAG ORDER AND ATTORNEY PREVIEWS DEFENSEThe trial wrapped up earlier than initially anticipated Monday, after a juror said they had a toothache requiring a dental appointment that afternoon.The trial marks the first time a former president has stood trial on criminal charges. Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. He pleaded not guilty to each charge. NY VS. TRUMP: JUDGE DELIVERS JURY INSTRUCTIONS AS OPENING STATEMENTS KICK OFFThe case focuses on Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen paying former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with the then-real estate tycoon in 2006. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels. Daniels reportedly agreed to grant exclusive rights to the National Enquirer on her claims of an affair with Trump, with Pecker allegedly contacting Cohen to “purchase” Daniels’ silence on the alleged affair. “During the election, TRUMP and others employed a ‘catch and kill’ scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleged last year. “TRUMP then went to great lengths to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws.””Catch-and-kill” schemes are understood as tactics used by media and publishing companies to buy the rights of a person’s story with no intention of publishing it.Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses. Prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony. TRUMP HUSH MONEY TRIAL: MEET THE JURORS WHO WILL HEAR BRAGG’S CASE AGAINST THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATEThe case will also feature two other payments, including a $30,000 payment to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed that Trump fathered a child out of wedlock, and arranged a $150,000 payment through a tabloid publisher to a former Playboy model named Karen McDougal, who also claimed she had an affair with Trump and sold her story to the tabloid. Trump has also vehemently denied these allegations. Trump arrived at the Manhattan courthouse Monday morning after 12 jurors and six alternates were seated and sworn in on the panel last week. NY VS TRUMP: THE EVIDENCE PROSECUTORS CAN PRESENT IF FORMER PRESIDENT TESTIFIESJudge Juan Merchan read the jury their rules and instructions Monday, explaining to the panel that jurors must operate fairly, that the defense team is not required to prove Trump’s innocence and that the 45th president is also not required to testify. Merchan reiterated to the jurors that they cannot discuss the case with anyone, adding that they also cannot visit any places where a crime allegedly unfolded, and that they cannot research the case. Trump briefly addressed the media earlier Monday morning, when he slammed the case as a “Biden” trial motivated “for the purposes of hurting the opponent of the worst president in the history of our country.” “Nothing like this has ever happened before,” he said in Lower Manhattan. “This is political persecution. … It’s a case that should have never been brought.””This is an assault on America and that’s why I’m very proud to be here,” Trump added. “This is really an attack on a political opponent.”
Go to Source

Scroll to Top