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Trump trial continues with third day of testimony from witness David Pecker

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker is expected to continue testifying Thursday in Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New Yorkhis third day at the helm.

The Court is scheduled to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. to resume proceedings and will overlap with another important legal development for the former president. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether Trump should be immunized federal prosecution in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith. The judge overseeing the trial denied Trump’s request to attend the proceedings in the capital.

In his testimony TuesdayOn the final day of the trial, Pecker described his efforts to use the National Enquirer to bury negative stories about Trump and attack his rivals during the 2016 presidential campaign. Pecker was the chief executive of the Enquirer’s parent company, a position he he held until 2020.

Pecker testified that he agreed to be Trump’s “eyes and ears” in 2015 and to alert Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, to damaging stories that could harm the campaign. Cohen is now a staunch critic of Trump and is expected to be prosecutors’ main witness against him.

David Pecker answers questions from prosecutors Joshua Steinglass during the trial of former President Donald Trump in New York on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Jeanne Rosenberg

Pecker described a tactic called “catch and kill” that he used to buy the rights to stories about Trump, without publishing them, thereby keeping them hidden.

His testimony is expected to continue through much, if not all, of Thursday’s proceedings.

Prosecutors allege a “silent” payment of $130,000 Cohen brought in adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the election, which was linked to the “catch and kill” agenda. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records related to reimbursements to Cohen. He accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of pursuing the case for political purposes.

Judge Juan Merchan also could rule Thursday on a motion by prosecutors seeking to convict Trump of contempt over a series of social media and campaign posts that they say violated an agreement. gag order in the case.

The order limits what Trump can say publicly about many of the people involved in the case, including witnesses like Cohen and Daniels.

Mercan held a contentious hearing on the motion Tuesday. Prosecutors asked him to fine $1,000 for each post and order Trump to remove them.

“His attacks on witnesses clearly violate the order, willfully and blatantly. The court should now convict him of contempt in all 10 positions,” prosecutor Chris Conroy said. “No one is beyond the reach of the accused. He can attack and seek to intimidate anyone he wants, for himself.”

Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Trump, argued that his client was responding to political attacks in his posts and did not believe he was violating the order by reposting or quoting others. The judge does not seem convinced, but does not rule immediately.

“Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility. I have to tell you right now. You are losing all credibility with the court,” Mercan said at one point.

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