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Resumption of the Trump trial with the ex-boss of a scandal-killing tabloid

Donald Trump's historic criminal trial resumes Thursday New York with the continuation of the colorful testimony of a former boss of tabloïd, in the service of the ex-president in 2016 to "kill& quot; the most embarrassing scandals.

Already sentenced twice since 2023 by the New York civil courts to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, Donald Trump is playing big during this trial, the debates of which began Monday in Manhattan court: this criminal case could be the only one, among the four against him, to be judged before the presidential election in November.

The 77-year-old Republican billionaire is the first former president of the United States to appear in criminal court, seven months before his almost certain duel with Democratic President Joe Biden, 81.

Pale pink tie, mustache, receding hairline and slicked back hair, David Pecker, 72, who owned The National Enquirer, a magazine with shocking headlines found in supermarkets, began telling the 12 jurors on Tuesday about below the conquest in November 2016 of the White House by his friend “Donald”.

Resumption of the Trump trial with the ex-boss of a scandal-killing tabloid

Former adult film actress Stormy Daniels makes a statement to the press as she leaves court in New York on April 16, 2018. © Getty – Drew Angerer

Mr. Pecker's testimony is crucial for the prosecution, which wants to see the Republican Party candidate convicted for hiding the payment of $130,000 to a former porn star in “legal fees” , Stormy Daniels.

The money, paid just before the November 2016 election that Mr. Trump narrowly won against former Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton, was used to buy the silence of pornographic actress Stephanie Clifford of her real name, who claims to have had a sexual relationship in 2006 with him.

Mr. Trump, then already married to Melania Trump, denies it.

– “Catch and kill” –

David Pecker recounted on the stand Tuesday how he had served the Trump campaign in 2016 by hunting down salacious stories and assured that he had discussed this plan in front of him.

Resumption of the Trump trial with the ex-boss of a scandal-killing tabloid

Former US President Donald Trump (c) leaving court in New York, April 23, 2024 © POOL – Yuki Iwamura

The maneuver is known by the American expression “catch and kill”.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pecker have liked each other for 25 years, according to the press boss who bought The National Enquirer in 1999 and benefited from the success of the reality TV show at the time of the real estate mogul, “The Apprentice”.

In the summer of 2015, after the announcement in New York of Donald Trump's candidacy for president, “I saw him more frequently, maybe once a month,” Mr. Pecker explained to jurors before the former tenant of the White House, looking tired and sullen, present every day since April 15, when jury selection week began.

During a meeting in August 2015 at Trump Tower in Manhattan with Donald Trump and his personal lawyer at the time Michael Cohen – now his sworn enemy – David Pecker is questioned by the two men on what he could ” do (…) to help his campaign”.

Resumption of the Trump trial with the ex-boss of a scandal-killing tabloid

Donald Trump's legal woes © AFP – Olivia BUGAULT, Sophie RAMIS

“I said that I would publish positive articles on Trump and negative articles on his opponents,” said the press man and that he “would be eyes and ears “, to monitor any scandal ready to emerge — notably “women (…) trying to sell their story” and “bury” it.

D' after David Pecker, Donald Trump was “satisfied” with these offers of service.

– “Illegitimate child” –

In addition to the $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels, $30,000 was paid to a doorman at Trump Tower who wanted to reveal “a story about an illegitimate child” of the future president at the time.

Resumption of the Trump trial with the ex-boss of a scandal-killing tabloid

The entrance to Trump Tower in New York, April 15, 2024 © AFP – CHARLY TRIBALLEAU

And $150,000 for a former Playboy magazine model, Karen McDougal, to keep her from having a relationship with Mr. Trump.

Des fundamental elements for the prosecution which wants to prove that there was a stratagem to cover up any scandal.

Donald Trump is being prosecuted for 34 counts of falsifying accounting records from his real estate group, the Trump Organization, to conceal payments to Stormy Daniels.

Donald Trump's defense invokes the legality of the payments and denies any “plot” to “rig” the 2016 election.

Finally, the Manhattan court judge must separately decide on possible sanctions against Donald Trump for contempt, because of his attacks on the internet and social networks against witnesses and jurors.

The former president may be fined ($1,000 per incriminated publication) but incarceration remains “an option if necessary”, according to the courts.< /p> All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116