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Stormy Daniels trial: Press boss talks about scandals meant to protect Donald Trump

Donald Trump is at the center of many scandalous cases. Yet he would have armed himself with firewalls. The first witness called in the trial of the former US tabloid boss detailed in a New York court on Tuesday how he put himself at the service of the Trump campaign in 2016 to stop scandals. ensuring they discussed this plan in front of him.

Pale pink tie, mustache, receding hairline and slicked-back hair, David Pecker, owner of The National Enquirer, one of those magazines with shocking front pages you find on supermarket shelves, took the jury behind the scenes of winning the White House. his friend “Donald”. Key testimony for prosecutors who want the 2024 Republican nominee convicted of concealing a $130,000 payment to former porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.

The money was used to buy the silence of an actress who claims she had a sexual relationship with the Republican billionaire in 2006 (he denies it) while he was already married to Melania Trump. However, David Pecker played a role in this type of negotiation known as “catch and kill”.

Meeting at Trump Tower

The two men have known each other since 1989 and like each other, says David Pecker. The 72-year-old press executive bought The National Enquirer in 1999, and his newspaper benefited from the success of the reality show “The Apprentice” and then its variation on showbiz stars. In 2015, after the announcement of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the White House, “I saw him more often, maybe once a month,” he explained to the jury, as the former US president, present every day in the courtroom, watched his face haggard and looking tired on Tuesday.

August 2015. David Pecker holds a meeting at Trump Tower in New York. Donald Trump, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen and his adviser Hope Hicks are present. “Donald Trump and Michael Cohen asked me what I could do, what my magazines could do to help his campaign (…) I said I would publish positive articles about Trump and negative articles about his opponents,” says David Pecker. And I also said that I would be the eyes and ears to monitor the environment for any scandal about to break out.

“It has been clear in my experience that when someone runs for public office this way, women will call a magazine like the National Enquirer to try to sell their story,” he explains. “All I said was that I would see Michael Cohen. When I reported a negative article to him, he tried to check whether it was true or not. He will then contact the relevant publication to ensure the article is buried. »


How did Donald Trump react to this offer of service, the prosecutor asks. “He was happy,” emphasizes David Pecker. A member of the press goes to work when he learns that the doorman at Trump Tower ” (sell) the story of an illegitimate child” by Donald Trump. “I immediately called Michael Cohen.”

The doorman was subsequently paid $30,000 to keep quiet. $150,000 was also paid to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her silence about her relationship with the White House candidate.

For the prosecution, these episodes are crucial to show that there was a ruse to cover up any scandal. Donald Trump is being prosecuted on 34 counts of falsifying the books of his Trump Organization group of companies to hide payments to Stormy Daniels. Donald Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche insisted on the legality of the payments. He saw this not as a conspiracy, but as the normal functioning of “democracy.”

On Tuesday, the court also considered possible sanctions against Donald Trump for contempt of court over his online and social media attacks on witnesses and jurors. Prosecutors believe the Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election repeatedly violated a magistrate’s injunction against assaulting them. They demanded the maximum fines be imposed ($1,000 per incriminating publication) and that Donald Trump be reminded that imprisonment remains “an option if necessary.” The judge did not make his decision.

Source: Le Parisien

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