Trump Responds To Main 'Hush Money' Trial Witness's Claims

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Apr 26, 2024 - 07:40 PM

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

Former President Donald Trump praised the first witness in his New York City “hush money” trial, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, as he is scheduled to deliver more testimony in the case on Friday.

“He’s been very nice. David’s been very nice. He’s a nice guy,” President Trump said on Thursday, responding to a question about Mr. Pecker’s testimony over the past week or so.

During cross-examinations Thursday, Mr. Pecker detailed how he obtained potentially damaging stories about the candidate and paid out tens of thousands of dollars to keep them from the public eye.

But when it came to the seamy claims by adult performer Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the former National Enquirer publisher said he put his foot down.

“I am not paying for this story,” he told jurors Thursday at President Trump’s trial, recounting his version of a conversation with President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen about attempts to suppress allegations that prosecutors claim amounted to election interference in the 2016 campaign. Mr. Pecker said that he remembers saying he “didn’t want to be involved in this.”

President Trump has maintained he is not guilty of any of the charges, and says the stories that were bought and squelched were false.

“There is no case here. This is just a political witch hunt,” he said before court in brief comments to reporters on Thursday.

Ms. Daniels was eventually paid by Mr. Cohen to not speak about her claim of a 2006 sexual encounter with President Trump. The ex-president denies it happened, while his lawyers have said that she is using the claims to make money and bolster her fame.

Although he did not buy her story, Mr. Pecker told Mr. Cohen that someone should make a move to suppress the claims from going public.

“I said to Michael, ‘My suggestion to you is that you should buy the story, and you should take it off the market because if you don’t and it gets out, I believe the boss will be very angry with you,’” he said.

Later, Trump defense attorney Emil Bove opened his cross-examination by asking Mr. Pecker about his recollection of specific dates and meanings. He appeared to be laying further groundwork for the defense’s argument that any dealings President Trump had with the National Enquirer publisher were intended to protect himself, his reputation, and his family, not his campaign.

At one point on Thursday, Mr. Pecker said that when he spoke to President Trump about the former president reimbursing Mr. Cohen for paying Ms. Clifford, the former president told him that he had no idea what Mr. Pecker was referring to. He specifically testified that the former president “had no idea what [he] was talking about” when he asked about reimbursing Mr. Cohen.

He also said that he purchased the rights to former model Karen McDougal’s story as well but he stipulated that President Trump never told him to purchase that story—only that he and Mr. Cohen were concerned about the McDougal story from emerging.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen arrives at the district attorney's office to complete his testimony before a grand jury in New York City on March 15, 2023. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images)

A conviction by the jury would not preclude President Trump from becoming president again, but because it is a state case, he would not be able to pardon himself if found guilty. The charge is punishable by up to four years in prison, although it’s not clear if the judge would seek to put him behind bars.

For the charges to be a felony, prosecutors have to prove their allegations that President Trump falsified business records in the furtherance of another crime. They have argued that the alleged falsification efforts were tantamount to election interference.

But the former president and his lawyers have said that they were simple legal expenses. They have also cast the credibility of Mr. Cohen into doubt, noting that he spent time in prison on fraud and other charges, and have noted that he has currently made a career out of criticizing President Trump in the media and on social media.

Mr. Cohen on Thursday wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he would stop commenting on the Trump trial.

“Despite not being the gagged defendant ... I will cease posting anything about Donald on my X account or on the Mea Culpa Podcast until after my trial testimony. See you all in a month (or more),” he wrote.

On Friday morning, President Trump did not speak to the media before he entered the courtroom. However, he wrote a Truth Social post at around 9:20 a.m. criticizing the level of security at the Manhattan court.

“I’m at the heavily guarded Courthouse. Security is that of Fort Knox, all so that MAGA will not be able to attend this trial, presided over by a highly conflicted pawn of the Democrat Party. It is a sight to behold! Getting ready to do my Courthouse presser. Two minutes!” he wrote.

Earlier this week, he called on his supporters to peacefully protest the trial against him.