May 18, 2024

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The first week of debates culminates in an investigation of Trump, between the political and tabloid press

The first week of debates culminates in an investigation of Trump, between the political and tabloid press

The first week of arguments in Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York wraps up on Friday, with connections of interest between Donald Trump's successful 2016 campaign and a scandalous tabloid at the center of the investigations.

• Read more: Is Trump Behind Bars a Politically Profitable Image?

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• Read more: Criminal investigation in New York: Trump confronts ex-tabloid boss with sexual misconduct allegations

As on the previous four days of the trial, the former president watched as the 12 jurors and six alternates walked past their benches without looking at him.

The Republican presidential nominee in November is under investigation for concealing in Trump Organization accounts a $130,000 payment to former porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

The transaction was allegedly made to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with his wife Melania in 2006, when he was already married. A relationship the millionaire refuses.

Less than seven months before the November presidential election, he faces the first criminal conviction of a former president in U.S. history and theoretically faces prison time.

Before entering the courtroom, he wished his wife a happy birthday in front of the cameras and mocked a “brutal and unconstitutional” trial that would leave him spending his days in a “frozen” courtroom instead of campaigning.

Then he listened attentively for hours, sometimes leaning back in his chair and drowsily, listening to the first prosecutor's long story.

After the break, the hearing will continue on Friday afternoon.

Cross-examination

Earlier Monday, David Becker, the former boss of the tabloid National Enquirer, described how he spoke after a meeting in August 2015 at Trump Tower in New York with his “friend Donald” and his lawyer, Michael Cohen. Service during the 2016 presidential campaign to cover up potential corruption by buying exclusive rights.

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The operation was carried out twice: $30,000 to fend off accusations by a Trump Tower doorman that Donald Trump had a missing child, then $150,000 to buy the story of Karen McDougal, a model for Playboy magazine. An affair with a millionaire.

“We bought this story not to be published elsewhere. This is Mr. “We don't want to embarrass Trump or hurt his campaign,” explained David Becker.

The thin 72-year-old, with slicked-back hair and white hair, described Donald Trump's repeated concerns about Karen McDougal's composure. “How is our daughter?” That's what he reportedly asked David Becker when he received him at Trump Tower after his victory. The question was raised again during another meeting at the White House.

But since Thursday, Donald Trump's defense has cross-examined David Becker, who was granted immunity by cooperating with the justice system.

Panal

So she had to clarify on Friday that during a conversation about Karen McDougal, Donald Trump told her “I don't buy the stories” and “check with Michael (Cohen).” Donald Trump's lawyer, Emil Bowe, worked to prove that these so-called “catch-and-kill” operations are commonplace in the United States.

David Becker admitted that he had already “bought” stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger or Tiger Woods not to be published.

Throughout the week, his testimony allowed the prosecution to set the scene.

For his part, Donald Trump already faces the threat of punishment for contempt of court, at the request of prosecutors, for his attacks, via the Internet and social networks, against witnesses and jurors. Judge Juan Mercon has yet to rule.

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Donald Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying accounting documents from the Trump Organization, allegedly helping to cover up payments to Stormy Daniels under the guise of “legal fees.”

His defense asserts their legitimacy and denies any “conspiracy” to tamper with the 2016 election, asserting that protecting a candidate's reputation is part of the normal functioning of a democracy.

The trial is the most important of the four criminal cases threatening Donald Trump, the first to take place before the presidential election.

His trial, which is considered to be the most important on allegations of illegal attempts to alter the results of the 2020 elections, is expected to be further delayed after the Supreme Court's hearing on Thursday.