(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 06, 1:04 PM
Under re-direct, McConney says he was following orders

Before ending his cross-examination, defense attorney Emil Bove attempted to pour cold water on a small narrative element prosecutors advanced about the location of handwritten notes containing arithmetic related to the reimbursing of Michael Cohen.

Then-CFO Allen Weisselberg, who jotted down the notes, ordered McConney to put the notes in a locked cabinet, McConney said earlier, suggesting that the document was intended to remain secret.

But Bove argued that “the reason that cabinet was locked was because the payroll book” was inside of it, containing sensitive information about employee salaries, bonuses and social security numbers.

“It’s not that these notes were particularly sensitive,” Bove said. “You locked the drawer to keep that sort of sensitive information secure?”

Furthermore, Bove asked, “Isn’t it a fact that most of the drawers in your office were locked?”

McConney confirmed this, and said he had “a lot of sensitive information” in his office.

During a brief re-direct examination, prosecutors attempted to distance McConney from the agreement to reimburse Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payment and suggest that McConney was just following orders.

“Did you participate in any conversations with Mr. Trump, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Weisselberg?” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo asked.

“No sir,” McConney said.

“This was all happening above your head?” Colangelo asked.

“Yes,” McConney said.

“You were told something and you did it?” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” McConney responded.

Court subsequently recessed for the lunch break.

May 06, 12:53 PM
Defense suggests Trump’s company faced risk from bad publicity

During a rapid-fire series of questions during his cross-examination of former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, defense attorney Emil Bove suggested that the Trump Organization faced a business risk stemming from bad publicity.

“There was a very real commercial risk to adverse publicity?” Bove asked McConney after listing some of the Trump Organization’s international holdings.

“I am not a marketing person — it’s hard for me to answer that question,” McConney responded.

McConney later conceded that negative publicity could be “bad for business.”

The line of questioning suggests the defense team could be planning to advance the argument that the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election was done to protect Trump’s business.

Defense lawyers have previously explained the arrangement as Trump attempting to shield his family from Daniel’s allegations that she and Trump had a sexual encounter.

May 06, 12:44 PM
McConney says ‘legal expenses’ were ‘part of a drop-down menu’

While prosecutors say the use of the phrase “legal expenses” to repay Michael Cohen for the Stormy Daniels hush payment amounted to an effort conceal the true nature of the payments, Trump attorney Emil Bove on cross-examination sought to frame that categorization as merely the results of the Trump Organization’s “antiquated” internal payment system.

Legal expenses were “part of a drop down menu?” Bove asked former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney.

“Yes,” McConney answered.

[The system] was a bit antiquated?,” Bove asked.

“Yes,” McConney said.

“These categories, there was a level of rigidity to them?,” Bove asked.

“Yes,” McConney replied.

“So if you are talking about payments to an attorney, legal expenses was the category that was used?” Bove asked.

“Yes,” McConney said.

May 06, 12:27 PM
On cross, McConney says Trump didn’t direct setup of repayments

Following the direct examination of former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, the defense began its cross-examination by laying out one of Donald Trump’s strongest defense arguments.

“Michael Cohen was a lawyer?” defense attorney Emil Bove asked McConney.

“Sure, yes,” McConney said.

“And payments to lawyers by the Trump Organization are legal expenses, right?” asked Bove.

“Yes,” said McConney.

“President Trump did not ask you to do any of the things you just described … correct?” Bove asked.

“He did not,” McConney replied.

“And as far as you know, President Trump did not ask anyone to do those things?” Bove continued, before an objection.

“In none of the conversations that you had with Mr. Weisselberg, did he suggest that President Trump had told him to do these things?” Bove asked again.

“Allen never told me that,” McConney said.

May 06, 12:16 PM
As McConney testifies, his longtime boss sits in jail

Over the course of Jeffrey McConney’s testimony, the former Trump Organization controller has repeatedly invoked the name of his longtime boss, Allen Weisselberg, when describing the conduct and the paper trail underpinning prosecutors’ theory of the case.

He and Weisselberg ate lunch every day, McConney testified, and their offices sat beside each other in Trump Tower. At one point during his testimony, McConney said he recognized Weisselberg’s penmanship on a key exhibit because “I’ve read his handwriting for about 35 years.”

But as McConney testifies, Weisselberg sits in jail — one month into a five-month sentence after pleading guilty to two felony counts of perjury for lying under oath during his testimony in former President Trump’s civil fraud trial and during the investigation that preceded it.

Weisselberg is not expected to testify at this trial.

May 06, 12:10 PM
Jurors see tax forms Trump Organization filed for payments

Jurors saw the tax forms that the Trump Organization submitted to the Internal Revenue Service related to Michael Cohen’s reimbursement.

Jurors saw two 1099 forms — one for the $105,000 from Trump’s trust and another for the $315,000 paid from Trump’s personal account.

Former Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney testified that that the company doubled Michael Cohen’s repayment to compensate for the expected taxes he would owe on the payments.

May 06, 11:53 AM
Per document, 9 of 12 payments came from Trump’s personal account

Following the mid-morning break, former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney’s testimony resumed and jurors were shown a spreadsheet called — a query voucher — that documents the twelve $35,000 payments made to Michael Cohen in 2017.

According to the exhibit, three of the payments came from Donald Trump’s trust account, totaling $105,000.

The remaining nine payments were made through Donald Trump’s personal account, totaling $315,000.

May 06, 11:25 AM
Jury shown remaining invoices for Cohen repayment

In a dry, repetitive manner, jurors were shown the invoices that Michael Cohen sent to the Trump Organization to request payment for legal services pursuant to a retainer agreement — which in reality were repayments to cover his hush payment to Stormy Daniels.

The 11 invoices comprise 11 of the 34 criminal counts Trump faces.

Former Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney paged through exhibits showing emails and invoices for each month over the course of the repayment schedule.

May 06, 11:15 AM
McConney suggests Trump signed Cohen checks in White House

Former Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney testified that the Trump Organization switched from cutting Michael Cohen’s checks from the company trust account to cutting them from Donald Trump’s personal account when Trump was the president and living and in Washington, D.C. — something that presented a challenge.

That led to testimony that suggested checks were sent to the White House while Trump was the sitting president.

“What did that mean?” the prosecutor asked McConney.

“Somehow we would have to get a package down to the White House,” McConney responded, having testified earlier that Trump was the only person who could sign checks from his personal account.

“DJT needs to sign check” McConney worte in one email that was shown to the jury.

“The check was drawn out of President Trump’s personal account,” McConney said. “We had to get it down to the White House for the president to sign it.”

May 06, 11:07 AM
Jurors see 1st invoice for Cohen’s repayment

Former Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney testified that Michael Cohen emailed an invoice to McConney for payment, which was displayed on screen for the jurors, marking the first time the jurors have seen one of the 34 records charged in this case.

“Just a reminder to get me the invoices you spoke to Allan about,” McConney had emailed Cohen.

“[Cohen] typed an invoice into his response email,” McConney testified.

The invoice Cohen sent was ultimately sent to and approved by then-CFO Allan Weisselberg, McConney testified.

In an email shown to the jury, Weisslberg clearly wrote: “ok to pay as per agreement with Don and Eric.”

Eric Trump, in the front row of the gallery, nodded yes repeatedly as the email flashed on screen.

May 06, 10:59 AM
Jury sees paper trail detailing Cohen repayment plan

The jury was shown the paper trail of handwritten notes from both controller Jeff McConney McConney and CFO Allen Weisselberg memorializing the repayment to Michael Cohen for his handling of the Stormy Daniels payment.

First, the jury saw a paper statement from Essential Consultants LLC, the shell company Cohen created to pay Daniels. Weisselberg had marked up the account with handwritten notes to outline the repayment plan.

Jurors also saw McConney’s notes on Trump-branded letterhead. They largely matched the repayment plan outlined by Weisselberg, with some additional reminders, such as ” x2 for taxes” regarding the plan to double the repayment to compensate for the taxes Cohen would owed on the payment.

Last, jurors saw an email dated Feb. 6, 2017, from McConney to Cohen with the subject line “$$.”

“Just a reminder to get me those invoices you spoke to Allen about,” McConney wrote in the email.

“I sent Michael an email to send us the invoices — at least the invoice for that month,” McConney testified.

May 06, 10:48 AM
McConney’s notes show Cohen’s repayment schedule

Former Trump Organization controller Jeff McConney’s handwritten notes from a conversation with then-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg memorialize a monthly reimbursement schedule to Michael Cohen that prosecutors allege was ultimately falsified to keep voters in the dark about the hush payment to Stormy Daniels.

“We were going to wire the funds monthly from Mr. Trump’s personal account,” McConney said.

Cohen was to be paid $35,000 each month for twelve months. “That was just math,” McConney said.

McConney calculated the monthly payment based the $130,000 wire to Keith Davidson, Daniels’ attorney, plus $50,000 to the IT consulting company Red Finch.

Cohen doubled the $180,000 total.

“Michael recorded $360,000 for tax purposes,” McConney said. There was an addition $60,000 to be paid as a bonus after “Michael was complaining his bonus wasn’t large enough.”

May 06, 10:34 AM
McConney says Weisselberg told him about reimbursing Cohen

Former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testified about how he learned about the need to reimburse Michael Cohen in 2017.

“Allen [Weisselberg, the CFO] said, ‘We have to get some money to Michael — reimburse Michael,” McConney said. “He tossed a pad toward me and I started taking notes on what he said. That’s how I found out about it.”

McConney said that the money included Cohen’s bonus for the year and “some other money he was owed.” Prosecutors allege that the payment reimbursed Cohen in part for his $130,000 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Asked to describe Cohen’s role in the company, McConney responded, “He said he was a lawyer.”

May 06, 10:27 AM
McConney says only Trump could sign personal checks

Former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney testified that Donald Trump was the only one who could sign checks that were cut from his personal checking account.

“Who had signature authority for checks from the DJT account?,” he was asked.

“Just President Trump,” McConney responded.

But McConney also testified that in 2017 there were multiple individuals who could have signed checks that cut from the revocable trust, including Eric Trump and then-CFO Allan Weisselberg.

“For checks under $10,000 any of them [could sign],” McConney said. “Over $10,000 needed two signatures”

Eric Trump, who is seated in the first row, did not react when his name was repeatedly mentioned from the witness stand. He continued staring at the monitor to his left.

May 06, 10:21 AM
McConney tells story of Trump saying, ‘You’re fired’

Trump once told McConney, “You’re fired” — but it was just a “teaching moment,” the former Trump Organization controller testified.

McConney shared an anecdote from early in his tenure at the Trump Organization, in the late 1980s — which might have foreshadowed the iconic catchphrase Trump later brandished on his reality TV show, The Apprentice.

“I would hand-deliver the [cash position] report to him once a week,” McConney explained.

On one of those occasions, McConney said he entered Trump’s office while Trump was on the phone. After he dropped off the report, McConney said he turned to leave. Trump asked whoever he was on the phone with to “hold on.”

“Jeff, you’re fired,” he said Trump told him, before turning back to his conversation on the phone.

McConney said he waited until Trump rang off. When he did, he said, “Jeff, you’re not fired. But my cash balances went down since last week.”

“It was a teaching moment,” McConney said. “Just because someone is asking for money, negotiate with ’em, talk to ’em — don’t just do it mindlessly.”

Trump, sitting at the defense table, appeared to flash a smile as McConney relayed the anecdote.

May 06, 10:08 AM
McConney says he worked daily with CFO Allen Weisselberg

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo began his questioning of former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, who is testifying under subpoena. McConney said the Trump Organization is paying for his attorneys in this matter.

McConney, who oversaw the company’s general ledger and managed the accounting department, told jurors that he directly reported to Allen Weisselberg, the former Trump Organization CFO, from “the day I was hired until the day he left.”

McConney told jurors that he interacted with Weisselberg on a daily basis.

“Other than having lunch everyday, whenever I needed to. His office was next to mine,” McConney said.
 

May 06, 9:53 AM
DA calls ex-Trump Organization comptroller as next witness

Prosecutors have called as their next witness Jeffrey McConney, the former longtime controller at the Trump Organization.

McConney served as the Trump Organization’s controller for over 20 years before leaving the company with a $500,000 severance payment amid multiple criminal and civil investigations. He was among the Trump Organization executives who, along with Trump himself, was found liable earlier this year for committing a decade of business fraud.

Prosecutors have said he allegedly received and processed nearly a dozen fraudulent invoices from Michael Cohen to reimburse him for paying Stormy Daniels a $130,000 hush money payment just days ahead of the 2016 election.

May 06, 9:38 AM
Judge again holds Trump in contempt, threatens jail time

Judge Juan Merchan has found former President Trump violated the limited gag in the case for a 10th time and has held him in contempt.

“I find you in criminal contempt for the 10th time,” Merchan said.

Merchan said that the $1,000 dollar fines per violation “are not serving as a deterrent” and threatened to jail Trump moving forward.

“Mr. Trump, last thing I want to do is put you in jail, you are the former president of the United States, and possibly the next president as well,” Merchan said, directly addressing Trump.

“At the end of the day I have a job to do,” Merchan said.

May 06, 9:30 AM
Trump enters courtroom

Trump has entered the courtroom, carrying a stack of papers in his hand.

The former president is joined for the second time by his son Eric Trump, who is sitting in the front row of the gallery next to Trump lawyer Alina Habba, who is in court for the first time.

Prosecutors have also filed into the courtroom.

May 06, 7:36 AM
3rd week of testimony to begin

The third week of testimony in former President Trump’s criminal hush money trial gets underway this morning.

Jurors on Friday heard the completion of Hope Hicks’ testimony, as the former top Trump aide recounted the 2016 Trump campaign’s reaction to the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, and also said she felt it would have been out of character for Michael Cohen to have made the $130,000 Stormy Daniels hush money payment on his own.

The trial is scheduled to resume this morning with testimony from the prosecution’s next witness.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.