(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:

May 02, 2:57 PM
Defense suggests Cohen never said Trump OK’d hush payment

“You used the word leverage,” defense attorney Emil Bove said of the March 2018 recorded phone conversation between Stormy Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen. “And that was Ms. Daniels’ goal was it not? To create leverage over President Trump?”

“No,” Davidson responded.

Davidson pushed back against the timing of the call suggested by Bove.

“I think you are grossly mistaken about the dates. This is years after the settlement,” Davidson said.

Jurors heard the substance of the audio recording in bits and pieces as Bove read from the transcript.

“It’s the truth, Michael. You know that — that you and I both want the truth out there,” Bove read from transcript of Davidson’s remarks.

According to Bove, Davidson said at the time that Cohen getting authorization from Trump for the Daniels payment was “never discussed.”

As the lawyers and the judge in the case listened to the recording on headphones, Trump stared forward as he sat at the defense table. His eyes appear shut at times and he adjusted himself in his seat.

Defense attorneys Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles attempted to communicate across Trump on several occasions.

May 02, 2:44 PM
Defense seeks to admit phone call recording

Stormy Daniels’ former attorney Keith Davidson testified that he continued to work with Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen after the 2016 election.

“He sent me work,” Davidson said, before clarifying.

“He sent me a non-paying client,” Davidson said, prompting at least two jurors to laugh.

“Our relationship changed over time,” Davidson said of Cohen.

Davidson testified that he believed Cohen was secretly recording him in 2018.

“It was a very structured conservation, which wasn’t really his [style],” Davidson said, recounting that Cohen is normally “all over the place.”

“That led me to believe I was being recorded,” Davidson said.

The defense was attempting to introduced a recorded phone call between Cohen and Davidson in which Davidson said, “Sometimes people get settler’s remorse” in connection with the Stormy Daniels hush payment

Bove, Davidson, and Judge Merchan put on headphones to listen to the evidence before it was admitted.

“You were talking about Stormy Daniels with Michael Cohen in March 2018?” Bove asked.

“It certainly appears to be, yes,” Davidson responded.

May 02, 2:35 PM
Defense resumes cross-examination of Davidson

Defense attorney Emil Bove resumed his cross-examination of Stormy Daniels’ and Karen McDougal’s former attorney Keith Davidson by asking Davidson about the 2011 blog post in TheDirty.com that alleged an affair between Trump and Daniels.

Davidson testified that his effort to kill the 2011 blog post helped Stormy Daniels make the story more marketable to another publication.

“They were using my efforts to create an exclusive opportunity with another publication,” Davidson said.

“They were using you to make more money, right?” Bove asked about the efforts by Daniels and her representative Gina Rodriguez.

“Yes,” Davidson said.

Bove’s questioning was briefly interrupted when a binder fell off a table in the courtroom.

“That drop was catastrophic to my client,” Bove joked, prompting some light laughter from the galler

May 02, 2:28 PM
Judge declines to approve articles for Trump to post

Court has resumed following the lunch break. But before jurors were escorted back into the courtroom, Trump attorney Susan Necheles handed Judge Merchan a series of articles by “legal scholars” like Jonathan Turley that she said are “very critical of this case.”

“These articles are all articles which President Trump would like to post on his Truth,” Necheles said, referring to Trump’s social media platform.

“We think they are perfectly fine, but we think there is ambiguity in the gag order,” Necheles said, asking the judge to “take a look at them” before Trump posts them.

Judge Merchan did not seem inclined to take up the matter, saying, “There is no ambiguity in the order.”

“I am not going to give an advanced ruling on this,” Merchan said. “When in doubt, steer clear.”

May 02, 1:16 PM
Davidson was to earn 45% of McDougal’s hush payment

Defense attorney Emil Bove asked Stormy Daniels’ and Karen McDougal’s former attorney Keith Davidson about his 2016 effort to negotiate a payment on behalf of McDougal, who was ultimately paid $150,000 by the National Enquirer so the publication could “catch and kill” her story.

Davidson was set to earn 45% of the payment based on the retainer agreement he signed with McDougal, according to testimony.

Bove suggested that the National Enquirer was struggling to verify McDougal’s allegations, which threatened to derail the negotiations.

“I am drafting a declination of representation letter to send off,” Davidson texted Enquirer editor Dylan Howard in 2016, according to evidence.

Davidson testified he could not recall threatening to end the negotiations.

The judge subsequently recessed the proceedings for lunch, with Davidson’s cross-examination set to resume after the break.

May 02, 12:53 PM
Davidson was investigated for Hogan extortion but not charged

Under cross-examination, Stormy Daniels’ former attorney Keith Davidson testified that he attempted to negotiate a monetary offer from Hulk Hogan related to the release of an alleged sex tape.

“There was a monetary demand made,” Davidson said while declining to provide specifics.

Davidson denied that he leaked any information about the alleged tape to the National Enquirer though Dylan Howard.

Davidson appeared to admit that he was investigated for extortion related to Hulk Hogan by the Tampa Police Department.

“They conducted an investigation, yes,” Davidson said.

“An investigation related to extortion?” Bove asked.

“I believe so,” Davidson said.

“You were not ultimately charged, right”” Bove asked.

“True,” Davidson said.

When asked if he learned about extortion law from the experience, Davidson mumbled, “Perhaps, I don’t know.”

May 02, 12:47 PM
Defense’s questioning of Davidson turns heated

Trump attorney Emil Bove’s cross-examination of Stormy Daniels’ former attorney Davidson turned heated as Bove asked Davidson about some of his previous cases.

Bove asked about his alleged involvement in a TMZ story related to Lindsey Lohan’s treatment at a rehab facility.

“I don’t recall that,” Davidson.

Bove then asked Davidson about his clients related to Charlie Sheen.

“We asserted that there was tortious activity,” Davidson said, adding there was some kind of settlement.

Bove then attempted to ask Davidson about the specifics of the settlement related to Sheen.

“I’m not going to answer that question,” Davidson said. “I don’t recall.”

“Is it fair to say your memory seems a bit fuzzy?” Bove said.

Davidson appeared to be refusing to answer some questions while invoking attorney-client confidentiality.

“We’re both lawyers here — I’m not trying to play lawyer games with you,” Bove said, telling Davidson he was just demanding truthful answers.

“You are getting truthful answers, sir,” Davidson said bluntly.

May 02, 12:33 PM
Defense attorney suggests Davidson extorted Daniels payment

Defense attorney Emil Bove appeared to suggest that Keith Davidson, as Stormy Daniels’ attorney, was committing extortion when he negotiated the Daniels payment. Bove asked whether the statute of limitations has run out for any extortion offenses.

“What does the word extortion mean to you?” Bove asked.

“Extortion is the attaining property by fear or threat of force,” Davidson said.

“By 2016, you were pretty well versed in getting right up to the line without committing extortion?” Bove asked.

“I don’t understand your question,” Davidson said.

Bove asked Davidson about a 2012 state and federal extortion investigation related to Hulk Hogan.

“I familiarized myself with the law,” Davidson said of the 2012 investigation “I did everything I could to make sure my activities were lawful.”

Bove attempted to suggest that based on that past experience, Davidson intentionally avoided making overt threats related to the 2016 election when negotiating the Daniels payment.

“I made no threats to anyone,” Davidson responded.

May 02, 12:19 PM
Davidson says he provided legal services without retainer

Under cross-examination, Keith Davidson agreed that he provided legal services to Stormy Daniels in 2011 when he sent a cease-and- desist letter to TheDirty.com when the website published allegations of an affair between Daniels and Trump.

“You were acting as Ms. Daniels’ attorney?” Trump lawyer Emil Bove asked.

“Yes,” Davidson responded, while noting there was no formal retainer agreement.

The defense has suggested Trump properly characterized his reimbursement to Michael Cohen, which sits at the heart of the case, as a legal expense because it was a payment to a lawyer.

Prosecutors have repeatedly said there was no retainer agreement between Trump and Cohen.

May 02, 12:06 PM
Defense begins cross-examination of Stormy Daniels’ attorney

After a short morning break, court is now back in session with the cross-examination of for Stormy Daniels attorney Keith Davidson.

Defense attorney Emil Bove is questioning Davidson on behalf of Donald Trump, who is back at the defense table.

Trump leaned back in his chair, twisting to the right, to watch his lawyer take his turn.

Bove began by asking Davidson about whether he had ever interacted with Trump, suggesting in his questions that Davidson’s impression of Trump came from television or what he learned from Michael Cohen.

“I have had no personal interactions with Donald Trump,” Davidson said.

Referring to National Enquirer publisher David Pecker’s testimony last week that Davidson was one of the publication’s major sources though his relationship with editor Dylan Howard, Bove asked Davidson, “Would it surprise you to learn that Mr. Howard considered you to be a major source of information?”

“Yes,” Davidson said.

May 02, 11:46 AM
With no ‘relationship,’ denial was ‘effectively true,’ lawyer says

Stormy Daniels’ former attorney Keith Davidson read to the jury her denial statement from Jan. 30, 2018.

“I am denying this affair because it never happened,” the statement read.

“I think it’s effectively true,” Davidson testified, arguing that a “relationship is an ongoing interaction.”

At one point, Davidson drafted a statement affirming that Michael Cohen was the source of the Daniels’ hush money payment. Cohen had texted Cohen Chis Cuomo’s email address.

“He is a news broadcaster, then with CNN,” Davidson testified regarding Cuomo.

“Perfect, send to Cuomo,” Cohen texted Davidson about the statement.

“I think he was under some fire and wanted validation or cooperation” that he was the source of the money, Davidson said.

Davidson testified that while he believed Trump would ultimately be the source of the payment, Cohen had made the payment out of his own pocket in October 2016.

Prosecutors subsequently ended their direct examination of Davidson.

May 02, 11:34 AM
Davidson details more Stormy Daniels denials

Jurors were shown more 2018 text messages between Stormy Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen, including one in which Cohen said, about Stormy Daniels. “I have her tentatively scheduled for Hannity tonight” so she could issue additional denials about her alleged relationship with Trump.

“Did your client actually appear on Hannity that night?” Steinglass asked Davidson.

“No,” Davidson said, calling this Cohen’s attempt to book Daniels on Hannity as part of one of his “pants-on-fire stages.”

“He believed she would further deny the interaction,” Davidson said about Cohen’s effort to book Daniels’ on Hannity.

By January 17, Cohen appeared to change his tone about booking Daniels on television.

“The wise men all believe the story is dying,” Cohen texted Davidson.

“Why is she going on Kimmel after the Sotu,” Cohen texted Davidson on January 26, 2018, referring to the State of the Union Address.

“Idk I was pissed. She said this is her shot. Meeting her this weekend to prep her and get the statement,” Davidson texted back.

“She wanted to talk about her life and reinvigorate her career,” Davidson testified about the the Jimmy Kimmel appearance.

May 02, 11:21 AM
Davidson testifies about denials to Wall Street Journal

Sometime in mid-December 2016, after the election, Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen spoke by phone, and Cohen unloaded on Trump.

In Davidson’s recollection, Cohen told him, “Jesus Christ, can you f—– believe I’m not going to Washington? After everything I’ve done for that f—– guy. I can’t believe I’m not going to Washington. I’ve saved that guy’s ass so many times you don’t even know.”

“That guy’s not even paid me the 130,000 back,” Davidson said Cohen told him.

Davidson was then asked about his actions in January 2018 when the Wall Street Journal reached out for comment about the Stormy Daniels contract.

“They wanted a comment on any interaction regarding Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump,” Davidson said.

“Nothing about the present day regurgitation of these rumors causes us to rethink our prior denial issued in 2011,” Davidson wrote in response to the request for comment in 2018. Davidson had sent a cease-and-desist letter in 2011 when the affair was mentioned on a blog.

Davidson said he forwarded the comment to Michael Cohen given their aligned interest at the time.

Jurors were shown the January 10, 2018 denial issued by Stormy Daniels, which Davidson said he wrote.

“An extremely strict reading of this denial would technically be true,” Davidson testified. “I don’t think anyone ever alleged that any interaction between she and Mr. Trump was romantic.”

“OK,” Steinglass responded, prompting some laughs from the gallery.

“It wasn’t a payoff and it wasn’t hush money — it was consideration in a civil settlement,” Davidson said.

May 02, 11:09 AM
‘What have we done?’ Stormy Daniels’ lawyer texted on election night

On election night, as results were coming in that were favorable to Trump, Stormy Daniels’ attorney Keith Davidson texted National Editor Dylan Howard, “What have we done?” according to texts shown the jury.

“This was sort of gallows humor. It was on election night as the results were coming,” Davidson testified.

Asked to explain his text message, Davidson responded, “There was an understanding that our activities may have in some way assisted the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.”

“Oh my god,” Howard responded to the text on election night.

May 02, 10:56 AM
Jurors shown final contract for Stormy Daniels agreement

Jurors were shown the final Stormy Daniels contract, which prohibited her from making public statements about her alleged affair with Trump.

“That’s essentially part of the nondisclosure aspect of the agreement,” her then-attorney, Keith Davidson, told jurors after reading aloud from the contract.

The contract stated that Daniel’s would owe $1 million for each breach of contract, though Davidson said that portion of the contract was likely unenforceable.

Davidson testified that Michael Cohen requested the $1 million penalty be added to the contract.

Jurors were shown signed copies of the agreement, which was signed by Daniels, Cohen, and Davidson.

The signature line for “David Dennison” — the pseudonym used for Donald Trump — was never signed by Trump. In one version of the contract, Cohen signed for “Dennison.”

Davidson testified that he made $10,000 for negotiating the contract.

May 02, 10:46 AM
Lawyer resumes testimony on Stormy Daniels hush payment

Following the contempt hearing, Keith Davidson, the former lawyer for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, has returned to the stand to resume his testimony.

When Davidson stepped off the witness stand on Tuesday, he testified about the difficulty in getting the $130,000 payment from then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen for Stormy Daniel’s hush money agreement.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass resumed the direct examination by asking Davidson about a phone call between himself, Michael Cohen, and National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard about the payment.

“That conversation took place because there was difficulty in communications with Michael Cohen and I had lost trust in what he was telling me, and Dylan came in as a mediator,” Davidson said. “I believed he was not telling me the truth … about the delays in funding.”

Jurors then looked at an email from Cohen where he flagged to Davidson that the wire would be coming from an account for Essential Consultants LLC.

On Tuesday, jurors heard from a banker who described Cohen’s rushed effort to create a bank account for Essential Consultants LLC, which prosecutors say was a shell company created for the Daniels payment.

Emails and texts involving Cohen, Davidson and Howard, displayed to the jury, indicate the hush payment was finalized with the wire transfer of $130,000 on October 27, 2016 — 12 days before the 2016 election.

May 02, 10:31 AM
Contempt hearing ends without immediate ruling

After Judge Merchan asked defense attorney Todd Blanche to explain Trump’s remarks about the jury, Blanche argued that Trump’s remarks referenced the political nature of the trial.

“We very much believe that this is a political persecution and that this is a political trial,” Blanche argued.

“I’m not accepting your argument,” the judge said. “He spoke about the jury. And he said the jury was 95% Democrats and the jury had been rushed through, and the implication being this is not a fair jury.”

The judge concluded the contempt hearing without issuing a ruling on whether Trump’s four recent statements violated the case’s limited gag order.

Testimony in the trial was then set to resume.

May 02, 10:24 AM
Defense says Trump was responding to Cohen’s remarks

Judge Merchan told Trump attorney Todd Blanche that he is “not terribly concerned” about Trump’s remarks about David Pecker being a “nice guy.”

“I am not terribly concerned about that one,” Merchan said during the hearing on whether Trump should again he held in contempt for allegedly violating the case’s limited gag order.

Blanche then turned to Trump’s remarks about witness Michael Cohen, displaying exhibits that included screenshots of four posts on Cohen’s X account.

“There is repeated attacks on President Trump’s candidacy for president by Michael Cohen,” Blanche said about Cohen’s posts on X and remarks on TikTok as well as on his podcast.

“You made your point,” Merchan responded after Blanche spent a few minutes highlighting Cohen’s public comments.

“Mr. Cohen has started going on TikTok nightly, literally making money,” Blanche added. “He actively encourages folks to give him money.”

May 02, 10:14 AM
Trump glares at his attorney after he agrees with judge

At one point in the ongoing contempt hearing, Trump appeared to show frustration with his own attorney during arguments regarding Trump’s remarks to the press.

When Judge Merchan said that “nobody is forcing” Trump to make remarks in the hallways, Trump attorney Todd Blanche surprisingly responded, “I agree.”

At that moment, Trump shot around and glared at his own lawyer in disbelief, his mouth hanging open. He then turned back around to face forward, repeatedly shaking his head no.

“What is happening in this trial is no surprise to anyone,” Merchan said of the media attention. “It is not surprising that we have press here.”

May 02, 10:04 AM
Defense argues Trump’s comments were ‘completely neutral

Defense attorney Todd Blanche argued against accusations that Trump again violated the case’ limited gag order, saying that Trump was attempting to respond to political attacks.

Appearing to cite President Joe Biden’s remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this weekend, Blanche said, “He mocked President Trump. He said, ‘Donald had had a few tough days recently — you might call it stormy weather,” Blanche said, arguing Trump should be able to respond to that remark but can’t because of the gag order.

Merchan pushed back on that argument, telling Blanche that Trump is allowed to respond to remarks by Biden.

“Trump can’t respond to that in a way that he wants to because of this order,” Blanche argued.

Blanche also argued that Trump’s remarks about David Pecker were “completely neutral” comments about Trump’s longtime friend.

“He is talking … about a man he had known for decades, who he was friends with for decades. There is no threat in what President Trump said,” Blanche said.

Blanche also attempted to put some blame on the press for asking Trump questions prompting his remarks. “He can’t just say ‘no comment’ repeatedly, he’s running for president,” he said.

Merchan told Blanche that Trump’s remarks about Pecker impacts other witnesses, because it signals that Trump could make remarks about other particpants.

May 02, 9:53 AM
Prosecutors ask judge to again fine Trump for contempt

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy argued that Trump’s remarks about witness Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney — including Trump’s statements in the courtroom hallway after opening statements last week — were made to “affect and disrupt” the proceedings at its “most critical time.”

“His statements are corrosive to this proceeding and to the fair administration of justice,” Conroy said.

“We are not yet seeking jail,” Conroy said about the four alleged violations, citing the desire to prevent disruptions to the proceedings.

He asked Merchan to fine Trump the maximum of $1,000 for violation, totaling $4,000, following the identical fines earlier this week for nine previous violations.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche argued that the alleged violations were not willful violations of the court’s limited gag order.

Blanche said Trump’s commentary reflects his defense to “political attacks” — and as a candidate for president, he is entitled to respond to “multiple and repeated attacks.”

“Part of the campaign takes place outside of this courtroom,” Blanche said.

May 02, 9:45 AM
Prosecutor calls Trump’s remarks ‘deliberate and calculated’

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy told Judge Merchan during the contempt hearing that the limited gag order exists because of Trump’s “persistent and escalating rhetoric” regarding trial participants, adding that Trump had violated the gag order nine times already.

“He has done it again here,” Conroy said.

“That is what the order forbids, and he did it anyway,” Conroy said about Trump’s remarks about the composition of the jury.

Conroy then turned his attention to Trump’s remarks about witness and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker last Thursday at a construction site in midtown Manhattan, in which he said, “He’s been very nice. I mean, he’s been — David’s been very nice. A nice guy.”

“It was deliberate and calculated,” Conroy said, describing the remarks as a “deliberate shots across the bow” to participants in the case.

“The defendant thinks the rules should be different for him,” Conroy says about Trump’s remarks about witnesses like Michael Cohen and David Pecker.

Trump has defended some of his commentary about the trial as a recitation of what he sees in media coverage. But Conroy said that Trump’s rhetoric carries an “air of menace that is substantially different” than a news report.

“He places this process and proceeding here in jeopardy,” Conroy said.

May 02, 9:36 AM
Contempt hearing underway

Judge Juan Merchan has begun this morning’s contempt hearing in which he will determine whether to hold Trump in contempt and fine him for making four additional out-of-court statements about the jury and known witnesses in the trial, after the judge on Tuesday cited and fined him for nine such violations.

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy, speaking for the Manhattan district attorney’s office during the contempt proceeding, said he does not plan to play the videos of the alleged violations.

May 02, 9:23 AM
Trump arrives in courtroom

Former President Donald Trump has arrived in the courtroom for today’s proceedings.

Proceedings get underway today with a second contempt hearing on Trump’s alleged violation of the case’ limited gag order, before testimony in the trial resumes.

May 02, 7:36 AM
Day will begin with second contempt hearing

Two days after Judge Juan Merchan held former President Trump in criminal contempt for nine violations of the limited gag order that prohibits statements about witnesses and others involved in the case, the judge will hold a hearing this morning to determine whether to hold Trump in contempt again and fine him $4,000 for making four additional out-of-court statements about the jury and known witnesses in the trial.

Judge Merchan on Tuesday fined the former president $1,000 for each of the nine violations — the maximum allowable fine under state law — and threatened that future violations could result in jail time.

Testimony in the trial is scheduled to resume following the conclusion of this morning’s hearing.

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