David Pecker Testifies as First Witness in Trump Hush-Money Trial

Former Trump CEO David Pecker testifies in historic criminal trial, admitting to "catch-and-kill" tactics to suppress negative stories about Trump. Prosecution relies on key witness testimony to establish Trump's involvement in hush money scheme.

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David Pecker Testifies as First Witness in Trump Hush-Money Trial

David Pecker Testifies as First Witness in Trump Hush-Money Trial

David Pecker, the former CEO of American Media Inc., took the stand on Monday as the first witness in the historic criminal trial of former President Donald Trump. Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records to conceal hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

In his testimony, Pecker admitted that his company, which publishes the National Enquirer, engaged in "checkbook journalism" and routinely paid for scandalous stories that it did not publish, a strategy known as "catch-and-kill."

Prosecutors questioned Pecker about a 2015 meeting at Trump Tower where he met with Trump and his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to discuss suppressing negative stories about Trump by buying the rights to the stories and not publishing them. Pecker is expected to testify about his role in helping to broker a $130,000 payment to Daniels to keep her from going public with claims of a sexual encounter with Trump.

Why this matters: The trial marks the first time a former U.S. president has faced criminal charges, and the outcome could have significant implications for Trump's political future and the 2024 presidential race. The prosecution's case heavily relies on the testimony of key witnesses like Pecker to establish Trump's direct involvement in the alleged hush money scheme.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the 34 counts of falsifying business records related to the hush money payments. His defense team argued that the charges are merely "pieces of paper" and that Trump was not directly involved in the invoices, checks, or ledger entries related to the payments.

Key Takeaways

  • David Pecker, former CEO of AMI, testified in Trump's criminal trial.
  • Pecker admitted AMI engaged in "catch-and-kill" to suppress negative stories.
  • Prosecutors allege Trump falsified records to conceal hush money payments.
  • This is the first criminal case against a former U.S. president.
  • The trial's outcome could impact Trump's political future and the 2024 race.