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Trump faces the testimony of a former tabloid boss at his trial

Donald Trump has once again been attacked. confronted&eac; Thursday, during his criminal trial at New York, with the rich and colorful testimony of a former tabloid boss, é his service in 2016 to "kill" possible scandals, including allegations of a relationship with a Playboy model.

“We bought this story so that it would not be published elsewhere. We did not want it to embarrass Mr. Trump or affect his 2016 presidential campaign,” summarized David Pecker, 72, in a calm voice. years old, during his third day of testimony at the first criminal trial in history for a former president of the United States.

Often affable, the former boss of National Enquirer, a celebrity magazine with sensationalist front pages, detailed how, for $150,000, his company had acquired the exclusive testimony of this model, Karen McDougal. Money spent not publishing anything and burying the scandal.

Red tie on a pale pink shirt, receding hairline and white hair combed back, David Pecker assured that he had spoken about this transaction with the candidate at the time. And the details were worked out with the billionaire's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who had reassured him: “don't worry (…) the boss will take care of all that”, reported David Pecker, in specifying that the “boss” was none other than Donald Trump.

Once elected, the Republican would have thanked him during a meeting at Trump Tower in New York by asking him, regarding Karen McDougal, “how is our daughter?”. A question reiterated when David Pecker was invited, a few months later, to the White House, says the witness. As he speaks, his gaze sometimes shifts to the jurors, who listen religiously, some taking notes. Donald Trump also listens, silent.

– Concealment –

Trump faces the testimony of a former tabloid boss at his trial

Donald Trump surrounded by his lawyers Emil Bove (left) and Todd Blanche (right) at the Manhattan court, April 25, 2024 © POOL – Mark Peterson

The former president of the United States is being prosecuted for concealing in the accounts of his group, the Trump Organization, another payment of $130,000, under cover of “legal fees”, to purchase the silence of former porn star Stormy Daniels at the end of the 2016 campaign.

She also claimed to have had a sexual relationship with the candidate in 2006, when he was already married to his wife Melania Trump. A relationship denied by Donald Trump.

David Pecker's story is therefore crucial for the prosecution, which wants to show that a stratagem was at work to systematically stifle the scandals surrounding the candidate. The press boss avoided criminal prosecution by admitting to having violated electoral campaign financing laws and by agreeing to collaborate with justice. Even if, as he said on Thursday, Donald Trump was his “mentor” and remains “his friend”.

On Tuesday, he had already mentioned a meeting during the campaign, at Trump Tower, where a plan to banish scandals had been developed with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen.

“Well before this meeting (…) for 17 years, you informed Donald Trump about potentially negative information that could come out about him”, put into perspective, during cross-examination, one of Donald Trump's lawyers, Emil Bove. David Pecker did not contradict him.

“This day has been breathtaking,” commented Donald Trump as he left the courtroom. “A breathtaking and astonishing testimony. This is a trial that should never have taken place, a case that should have been closed,” he assured.

– Immunity –

Already sentenced twice since the beginning of 2023 by New York civil justice to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, Donald Trump risks in this case the first criminal conviction of a former president of the United States, a scenario which would push the presidential campaign and its dream of revenge against Joe Biden into the unknown, during the election on November 5, 2024.

Trump faces the testimony of a former tabloid boss at his trial

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

The Republican billionaire is being prosecuted for 34 counts of falsifying accounting documents from the Trump Organization, to conceal payments to Stormy Daniels.

The defense of Donald Trump invokes the legality of the payments and denies any “conspiracy” to distort the 2016 election, contrary to what the prosecution claims.

The trial is all the more important as it could be the only one, among the four criminal cases that threaten Donald Trump, to take place before the presidential election.

His most important trial, for his alleged illegal attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, is expected to be further delayed after the Court's review on Thursday Supreme Court of the question of possible absolute criminal immunity

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