Friday, June 14, 2024
World / North AmericaWorld News

Donald Trump fined over contempt of court, threatened with jail time in hush money trial

With seven months until the election, Trump stands accused of falsifying business records to cover up an affair he had with a porn star, which could have derailed his chances of becoming president if the news had come out.

During the first week of the trial, the court heard how David Pecker, the publisher of the tabloid magazine the National Enquirer, and his Australian-born content editor Dylan Howard, helped Trump win the presidential election by burying damning stories about the Republican candidate, practice known as “catch and kill”.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (left) and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (left) and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.Credit: AP

In one case, a doorman working for Trump was paid $US30,000 ($46,000) to kill an unverified story claiming Trump had a child born out of wedlock. In another case, a former playboy playmate was paid $US150,000 ($230,000) to silence an alleged affair she says she had with him while he was married to his current wife Melania.

The 34 charges Trump faces, however, relate to $US130,000 that Cohen paid to Daniels, to cover up another affair from coming out on the eve of the 2016 election, when Trump was running against Hillary Clinton.

After Pecker’s salacious four days of testimony, the jury heard from Trump’s longtime personal secretary Rhona Graff, who confirmed her former boss had saved contact information for Daniels and McDougal, the two women at the heart of the hush money case.

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Her short evidence was then followed by banker Gary Farro, who helped set up the account used to pay off Daniels.

Trump, however, continues to assert his innocence. Before walking into court today, he described the trial as hoax, demanded that the judge recuse himself, and once again lamented the cold temperature in the courtroom, which he described as an “icebox”.

And minutes after the gag order ruling, Trump sent out an email to fundraise from it.