(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:

Apr 30, 2:19 PM
Trump begins to remove posts after being held in contempt

Former President Trump has begun to remove the social media posts cited by Judge Juan Merchan in today’s gag order ruling.

The judge this morning fined Trump a total of $9,000 for nine violations of the case’s limited gag order, which prevents Trump from targeting potential witnesses and others involved in the case.

Trump was ordered to remove the posts in question and to pay the fine by the close of business this Friday.

Apr 30, 1:07 PM
McDougal didn’t want her story to go public, lawyer says

Keith Davidson, the former attorney for Karen McDougal, testified that McDougal — who said in 2016 that years earlier had had an affair with Trump — did not actually want to tell her story publicly.

That’s partially what made a deal with the National Enquirer so “attractive”– because she would not have to, Davidson said.

“She did not want to tell her story,” Davidson testified.

“Get me a price on McDougal All in. Consulting gig perhaps as a fitness expert thrown into the mix,” National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard texted Davidson on July 23, 2016, in messages that were shown to the jury.

“How about 1m now. And 75K per year for next 2 years as a fitness correspondent for AMI & ur related pubs,” Davidson texted.

“I’ll take it to them but thinking it’s more hundreds than millions,” Howard responded.

“We are going to lay it on thick for her,” Howard subsequently texted on July 28, 2016.

“Good. Throw in an ambassadorship for me. I am thinking Isle of Mann,” Davidson responded.

“That was just a joke,” Davidson testified about the Isle of Mann reference, saying that killing the story “would help Donald Trump’s candidacy.”

The attorney reiterated on the stand that the “allure of the AMI deal” was that McDougal would get paid yet she would not have to speak publicly about the alleged affair.

The proceedings then broke for lunch. Trump made no comments to reporters as he left the courtroom.

Apr 30, 12:52 PM
McDougal alleged she had affair with Trump, lawyer recounts

Keith Davidson, the former attorney for Karen McDougal, testified about the meeting he arranged between McDougal and National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard.

“Ms. McDougal alleged that she had had a romantic affair with Donald Trump some years prior,” Davidson said, referring to what McDougal shared during the meeting.

Asked on the stand whether the affair was sexual, Davidson replied: “That’s what she expressed.”

Howard told them he wanted to “return to New York and run it up on the flag pole” before making a decision about whether to purchase McDougal’s story.

“It’s a story that should be told,” Davidson texted Howard on June 27, 2017, regarding the alleged affair.

“I agree,” Howard responded.

Jurors then saw text messages from about a month after the Howard-McDougal meeting.

“Let’s talk … tomorrow. I think this is the entree for me to go back to them,” Howard texted Davidson.

“Better to be quick,” replied Davidson, who said on the stand that he was trying to play the National Enquirer against another media outlet to create a “sense of urgency.”

“You were trying to convey that there was some urgency and Dylan Howard should act quickly?” prosecutor Josh Steinglass asked Davidson.

“That’s fair,” Davidson said.

Apr 30, 12:44 PM
‘I have a blockbuster Trump story,’ lawyer texted tabloid in 2016

With Keith Davidson, the former attorney for Karen McDougal, on the stand, jurors were shows text messages between him and National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard from 2016.

“I have a blockbuster Trump story,” Davidson texted Howard on June 7, 2016

“Talk 1st thing. I will get you more than ANYONE for it. You Know why…” Howard responded.

“It was sort of an entree or teaser to Dylan,” Davidson testified about the message, adding that he was aware of Pecker’s relationship with Trump.

Jurors were then shown more text messages from June 10, 2016.

“Did he cheat on Melania?” Howard asked. “Do you know if the affair was during his marriage to Melania?”

“I really cannot say yet. Sorry,” Davidson replied.

“OK. Keep me informed,” said Howard.

Asked on the stand why he did not confirm it was an affair, Davidson said, “I was not prepared to discuss the details.”

Apr 30, 12:36 PM
McDougal’s attorney outlines agreement he had with her

Keith Davidson testified that he represented Karen McDougal in the summer of 2016 when the former Playboy model entered into a non-disclosure agreement with AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer.

Jurors were then showed the retainer agreement between Davidson and McDougal, which details McDougal’s “life rights related to interactions with Donald Trump and/or negotiating assignment of exclusive press opportunities regarding same.”

Davidson testified that he provided “legal services” to help the former Playmate negotiate with media outlets for the rights to her story about “a personal interaction she had — allegedly had — with Donald Trump.”

“At the time … media outlets, both traditional and tabloid, would often enter into an exclusive arrangement where someone would provide exclusive content to that outlet in exchange for money,” Davidson said.

Davidson told Steinglass that he did not go behind McDougal’s back when he arranged the agreement with AMI for the rights to her story

Apr 30, 12:29 PM
Prosecution calls former attorney for McDougal and Daniels

Prosecutors called to the stand Keith Davidson, who worked as an attorney for both Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels when the hush money payments to both women were arranged.

Trump, at the defense table, turned his head to see Davidson as he entered the courtroom.

Davidson, who was granted immunity to testify, said that that he has set up nondisclosure agreements for some of his clients, including some with tabloids.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked Davidson about his relationship with former National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard. Earlier, former Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified that Davidson was one of Howard’s sources.

“I knew him in my professional dealings,” Davidson said. “We were professional acquaintances and friends.”

Davidson said he first met Michael Cohen in 2011 after a blog was posted about Stormy Daniels — who was Davidson’s client — and Donald Trump.

“Michael Cohen is the former attorney for Donald Trump,” Davidson recounted.

Apr 30, 12:19 PM
Jury hears transcript of Trump addressing ‘Access Hollywood’ tape

Prosecutors called their next witness, Philip Thompson, who works for a national court reporting company, to testify about a deposition Trump gave that was taken as part of former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation cases against Trump.

Jurors were shown several videos, starting with Trump’s October 2022 deposition in that case.

In the first video, Trump briefly explains what Truth Social is and confirms his handle on the social media platform.

“It is a platform that has been opened by me as an alternative to Twitter,” Trump said.

They were next shown an Oct. 19, 2022, deposition taken at Mar-a-Lago, in which Trump confirms he married his wife Melania in 2005.

Thompson then read from the transcript of a deposition where Trump is asked about the “Access Hollywood” video in which he boasts about grabbing women.

Thompson then stepped off the witness stand.

Apr 30, 12:02 PM
‘We don’t win’ if people think stories are true, Trump said in 2016

As part of a series of video, jurors were shown a video of an October 2016 Trump rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

“They are trying to poison the mind of the American voter. Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” Trump said in the video.

Lastly, jurors sew a brief video of a press conference by President-elect Trump praising Michael Cohen.

Trump, in one of the videos, appears to acknowledge how damaging the stories could have been to his election prospects.

“If 5% of the people think its true, and maybe 10% of the people, we don’t win,” Trump says in the speech.

In the courtroom, Trump’s demeanor completely changed immediately after the videos were played for the jury. He perked up and frantically whispered with his attorney Todd Blanche, looking displeased.

Browning, the C-SPAN executive, concluded his testimony, and defense lawyers opted not to cross-examine him.

Apr 30, 11:41 AM
Judge will allow some questioning about intimidation effort

Judge Juan Merchan has ruled from the bench that prosecutors will be permitted to introduce evidence about Trump’s alleged “intimidation effort” for a limited purpose.

Prosecutors can use the evidence to offset the defense claim that witnesses are financially benefiting from the trial and explain why some witnesses have changed their story; however, the evidence cannot be used to demonstrate Trump’s “consciousness of guilt,” as the prosecution had sought.

Merchan also said jurors will have May 24 — the Friday before Memorial Day — off, because a juror has to catch a flight at 11 a.m. ET.

Prosecutors then called as their next witness Robert Browning, who has worked as the executive director of the C-SPAN’s archives for 30 years.

Apr 30, 11:33 AM
‘Let’s try to keep the break short,’ judge tells defense

Jurors have re-entered the courtroom following the mid-morning break.

Trump returned to the courtroom speaking with his defense attorney Todd Blanche as he entered.

Judge Juan Merchan lightly scolded Blanche about running late.

“Let’s try to keep the break short,” Merchan told Blanche, reminding him that jurors are waiting. “Let’s do better.”

Apr 30, 11:21 AM
Prosecutors want to ask Trump about gag order violations

In a conference with with judge and other attorneys during the mid-morning break, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo told Judge Merchan that prosecutors would like to cross-examine Donald Trump, if he opts to testify, about his nine violations of the case’s limited gag order that the judge handed down this morning.

“The people will seek to cross-examine him on those findings,” Colangelo said.

Colangelo also argued that prosecutors should be able to introduce evidence about what he called Trump’s “pressure campaign” and “intimidation effort” for witnesses like Michael Cohen.

Colangelo argued that defense attorneys “opened the door” to the evidence during their opening statement by arguing that some of the witnesses like Cohen and Stormy Daniels benefited personally from their involvement in the case. He mentioned that prosecutors have approximately half-a-dozen exhibits to demonstrate Trump’s effort attacking witnesses.

Colangelo said the evidence would help show Trump’s “consciousness of guilt” and explain why some witnesses made contradictory statements about the case.

Apr 30, 10:58 AM
Farro says opening Cohen’s LLC account raised no red flags

While Michael Cohen’s former banker, Gary Farro, testified that Cohen took steps to quickly open the account for Essential Consultants, the shell company Cohen used to pay Stormy Daniels, Farro said the process did not prompt any red flags based on the information Cohen provided.

“Not based on the answers I was given … on the questions I asked,” Farro said when asked about potential red flags.

Farro added that accounts in the real estate world were often opened quickly.

“It’s not unusual, it’s not every time. It’s not unusual,” Farro said.

Farro testified that he was not involved with the decision to end First Republic Bank’s relationship with Cohen, adding that if a client provides false information, First Republic Bank would sever their relationship.

“The decision was not mine,” Farro said during a brief re-cross examination.

Apr 30, 10:50 AM
Farro explains how Cohen’s LLC account was opened

Gary Farro, under cross-examination, said that First Republic Bank did not open the account for Essential Consultants LLC for Michael Cohen to operate a shell company.

“I don’t open up shell corporations,” Farro, who was Cohen’s banker, said of the LLC that was used for Cohen to send payment to Stormy Daniels in 2016. “Shell corporations that have no business behind them would give me pause.”

While First Republic allows some accounts to be opened with limited transactions — such as an account for an LLC to own a property or aircraft — the account created by Cohen had the listed business purpose of “investment consulting” work, according to evidence.

Farro added that the information that Cohen provided — such as not listing himself as someone’s agent — allowed the account to be opened quicker.

“Not only would it raise more questions, but it would require more paperwork,” Farro said.

Apr 30, 10:38 AM
Farro says Cohen was removed as his client in 2017

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Todd Blanche, Michael Cohen’s former banker testified about his first interactions with Cohen.

Gary Farro said his boss introduced him to Michael Cohen in Cohen’s office in Trump Tower.

“He was a challenging client because of his desire to get things done so quickly,” Farro said. “Ninety percent of the time, it was an urgent matter.”

Farro said that his supervisors removed Cohen as his client in 2017, as the details about the transactions in question “went public.”

“They didn’t want me to have communication with the client any longer,” Farro said.

Apr 30, 10:31 AM
Banker says Daniels payment could have prompted review

Prosecutor Becky Mangold concluded her direct examination of banker Gary Farro by asking if First Republic Bank would have still permitted the wire transfer to Stormy Daniels if Michael Cohen disclosed the money was going to an adult film actress.

“There would definitely have been enhanced due diligence on that,” Farro said, adding that the due diligence would have delayed the payment.

“We might consider that a reputational risk,” Farro added.

After prosecutors completed their direct examination of Gary Farro, defense attorney Todd Blanche began his cross-examination.

Apr 30, 10:21 AM
Banker details Michael Cohen’s $130K payment to Stormy Daniels

Michael Cohen’s former banker, Gary Farro, returned to the stand, where he was asked by prosecutor Becky Mangold about Cohen’s frantic effort to create a bank account for a new company he created called Essential Consultants LLC on October 26, 2016.

Referring to Stormy Daniels, Farro told jurors that Cohen did not disclose the account would be used to send money to an adult film actress, adding that his bank, First Republic, avoided financing the adult-entertainment sector.

Farro said that Cohen added $131,000 to an account for Essential Consultants LLC using a home equity line of credit.

Apr 30, 10:04 AM
Judge warns Trump could be jailed for further violations

In the paper order explaining his ruling holding Trump in contempt for his violations of the case’s limited gag order, Judge Merchan warned Trump that he could be locked up if he continues to willfully violate the order.

“Defendant is hereby warned that the Court will not tolerate continued willful violations of its lawful orders and that if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances, it will impose an incarceratory punishment,” Merchan wrote in his order.

Merchan wrote that Trump has until 2:15 p.m. ET today to remove posts violating the order from his social media account and campaign website. Trump has until close of business on Friday to submit the $9,000 penalty Merchan levied against him.

Apr 30, 10:00 AM
Judge orders Trump to pay gag order fine by Friday

After Judge Merchan fined Trump a total of $9,000 for nine violations of the case’s limited gag order, Trump was ordered to pay the fine by the close of business this Friday.

Merchan also ordered Trump to remove the posts from his Truth Social account and campaign website by 2:15 p.m. today.

Before resuming Gary Farro’s direct examination, Judge Merchan also informed the parties that Trump will be able to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation in May, as Trump had requested.

“I don’t think the May 17 date is the problem, so Mr. Trump can certainly attend that day, attend his son’s graduation,” Merchan said.

Apr 30, 9:49 AM
Judge fines Trump $9,000 for violating limited gag order

Judge Juan Merchan has ruled that Donald Trump repeatedly violated the limited gag order imposed by the court.

The judge found that prosecutors “met their burden” to show several contempt motions.

Trump will be fined $1,000 for each of the nine violations, Merchan said, and will be ordered to pay a total of $9,000.

Apr 30, 9:31 AM
Trump enters courtroom with son Eric

Former President Trump has entered the courtroom with his son Eric Trump.

Eric Trump frequently attended last year’s New York civil fraud trial, but today marks his first time attending his father’s criminal hush money trial.

Trump’s campaign staff and advisers have attended the criminal trial over the last two weeks, but Eric Trump is the only Trump family member to attend the proceedings.

Susie Wiles, Trump’s top campaign adviser who is helping lead his presidential campaign, is also in the courtroom with him, marking the first time she has been spotted in court.

Apr 30, 9:26 AM
Prosecutors have arrived

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office have entered the courtroom.

Prosecutors Joshua Steinglass, Becky Mangold, and Matthew Colangelo are seated at counsel table.

Former President Trump and his counsel are on their way in.

Apr 30, 8:15 AM
Michael Cohen’s banker testified Friday about Cohen’s LLCs

On his first day on the stand Friday, banker Gary Farro told jurors that he was assigned to work with Michael Cohen in 2015 after one of Farro’s colleagues left First Republic Bank, and that in October 2016 Cohen frantically attempted to open an account for a new business called Resolution Consultants LLC.

Prosecutors allege that Cohen intended to use that account to transfer $125,000 to National Enquirer parent AMI for the rights to Playboy playmate Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair with Trump, but the deal fell through after publisher David Pecker consulted with his attorneys.

“I am not going forward. It is a bad idea, and I want you to rip up the agreement,” Pecker recounted telling Cohen. “He was very, very, angry. Very upset. Screaming, basically, at me.”

Ultimately, Farro said the account for Resolution Consultants LLC was never funded or opened by Cohen; prosecutors allege the account was abandoned along with the deal to reimburse AMI for the McDougal story. Then, said Farro, Cohen sought him out in October 2016 to open a new account for a company called Essential Consultants LLC, which Farro said Cohen described as a real estate consulting company “to collect fees for investment consulting work [Cohen] does for real estate deals.”

According to prosecutors, the day after the account was created, Cohen used it to wire $130,000 to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence ahead of the 2016 election.

Apr 30, 7:35 AM
Michael Cohen’s banker to return to the stand

After a week of testimony from longtime National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial is scheduled to resume this morning with the direct examination of Gary Farro, the one-time banker for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Farro, a former managing director at First Republic Bank, began his testimony on Friday by outlining some of the documents used to allegedly create the shell companies formed by Cohen that are related to two hush-money payments at the center of the case.

Prosecutors have called Farro to authenticate records they hope will prove that Trump falsified business records to hide the reimbursement of Cohen’s hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“Read the documents, the emails, the text messages, the bank statements, the handwritten notes, all of it,” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo asked jurors last week. “It inescapably leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.”

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