Donald Trump Trial Ends Second Week Of Combustible Testimony

The second week of often angry witness testimony in Donald Trump’s New York trial, where he is accused of concealing hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, ends on Friday.

Trump, 77, is accused of falsifying company records to compensate his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to Daniels just days before the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton.

Prosecutors this week sought Judge Juan Merchan to penalize Trump for violating a gag order he imposed to safeguard trial participants.

Merchan, who warned Trump with jail time on Tuesday for further gag order violations, heard arguments from both parties and could rule on Friday.

The judge began Friday’s hearing by addressing Trump personally, stating that he wanted to “clear up (any) misunderstanding” over the gag order.

Merchan emphasized Trump’s ability to testify in court and clarified that the gag only applies to extrajudicial utterances made outside of court.

Trump, who had previously argued that the gag order would prevent him from testifying freely, was heard saying, “Thank you.”

On Thursday, prosecutor Christopher Conroy requested Merchan to penalize Trump for four new violations of the gag order, which prohibits him from publicly assaulting witnesses, jurors, court staff, or their relatives.

Merchan fined Trump $9,000 earlier this week for violating the gag order.

Conroy cited Trump’s public comments regarding Cohen, who has become an outspoken critic of his former boss and is expected to be a key witness in the case.

“The defendant thinks the rules should be different for him,” Conroy said.


‘Made no threats’

On Thursday Daniels’ former attorney, Keith Davidson, was grilled by the ex-president’s lawyers. Davidson also represented another woman, Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had a year-long affair with Trump.

Trump attorney Emil Bove’s questioning of Davidson quickly turned heated.

“When you were negotiating on behalf of McDougal and Daniels one of your concerns was staying on the right side of the law about extortion,” Bove said.

“I suppose so,” Davidson replied. “I did everything I could to make sure my activities were lawful.”

Bove asked Davidson about his involvement in other cases where he “extracted” money from celebrities with something to hide, citing a settlement involving the “Platoon” star Charlie Sheen.

The Los Angeles lawyer objected to the use of the word “extract” in a testy exchange.

Davidson acknowledged he was probed by federal and state investigators for alleged extortion while representing clients who had possession of a sex tape of the former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. He did not end up facing any charges.

“I made a monetary demand,” said Davidson, which would allow Hogan to acquire the tapes. “I made no threats to anyone.”

The court also heard from a forensic expert, Douglas Daus, who examined Cohen’s cell phones and retrieved what appeared to be recordings of Trump, and Cohen’s phone calls.

He will continue to give evidence on Friday.

Leaving court on Thursday, Trump denounced the case as “election interference at the highest level”

“I should be out campaigning right now,” he said.


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