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Former National Enquirer publisher testifies in Trump’s “hush money” trial

Former National Enquirer publisher testifies in Trump's "hush money" trial
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
Apr 24, 2024 12:05 AM

David Pecker, a former tabloid publisher, has testified in Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial, revealing the “catch and kill” strategy used to suppress negative stories

David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher, took the witness stand Tuesday in Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial, offering insights into the alleged practices of suppressing negative stories, a tactic commonly referred to as “catch and kill.”

Trump, 77, the first former US president to face criminal charges, stands accused of falsifying business records to silence adult movie star Stormy Daniels regarding a 2006 sexual encounter, a move that could have impacted his 2016 presidential bid.

During the trial, prosecutors alleged Trump’s involvement in “election fraud” by authorizing his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make a $130,000 payment to Daniels just before the 2016 election, where he secured victory over Hillary Clinton.

Pecker, 72, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, was the prosecution’s inaugural witness, shedding light on the “catch and kill” strategy allegedly utilized by Trump and Cohen, the once loyal “fixer” turned adversary.

Testifying after a nearly 90-minute hearing, Pecker revealed his longstanding friendship with Trump since 1989, affectionately referring to him as “Donald.” He recounted an Aug. 2015 meeting at Trump Tower, where he, along with Cohen and Trump’s personal assistant Hope Hicks, discussed strategies to support Trump’s burgeoning presidential campaign.

“I said what I would do is, I would run or publish positive stories about Mr. Trump and I would publish negative stories about his opponents,” Pecker testified, emphasizing his commitment to aiding Trump’s campaign.

Prosecutors led Pecker through details of payments aimed at burying unfavorable stories, including one involving a false claim from a Trump Tower doorman and another related to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s alleged affair with Trump.

Before Pecker’s testimony, prosecutors accused Trump of flouting a gag order, prompting discussions about potential penalties.

Trump’s vocal objections to the gag order continued outside the courtroom, where he criticized its constitutionality and expressed frustration over his inability to publicly engage while his adversaries seemingly have free rein.

“I’m not allowed to talk but people are allowed to talk about me,” Trump remarked, adding, “It’s a very unfair situation.”

The trial is set to resume Thursday, with Pecker slated to return to the witness stand. Witnesses including Daniels and Cohen are expected to testify for the prosecution.

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:45 PM