5 Takeaways From David Pecker’s Testimony in Trump’s Criminal Trial

The criminal trial of Donald Trump featured vivid testimony on Thursday about a plot to protect his first presidential campaign and the beginnings of a tough cross-examination of the prosecution’s initial witness, David Pecker.

In his third day of testimony, Mr. Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, described his involvement in the suppression of the stories of two women who claimed to have had sex with Mr. Trump: Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, the porn star whose 2016 hush-money payoff forms the basis of the prosecution’s case.

Mr. Trump, 77, is charged with falsifying 34 business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels, who has said they had a sexual encounter in 2006 and was shopping that story in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election. He has denied the charges and having sex with Ms. Daniels and Ms. McDougal; the former president could face probation or prison if convicted.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Trump’s seventh day on trial:

Pecker teed up falsified records charges.

As part of a so-called catch-and-kill scheme, Mr. Pecker testified that his company, AMI, paid Ms. McDougal $150,000 to purchase her story, with no intention of publishing anything about an affair with Mr. Trump.

But Mr. Pecker expected repayment. He said he asked Michael D. Cohen, who was Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, who would handle the reimbursement, and Mr. Cohen responded, “The boss will take care of it.”

David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer, was cross-examined on Thursday.Credit…Marion Curtis/Associated Press
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