First witness to testify in Trump trial is former publisher of tabloid National Enquirer

Pecker turned down Daniels's story because her price was too high.


On Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's case against former President Donald Trump for allegedly falsifying business records so his attorney could pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels is set to begin, with tabloid publisher David Pecker expected to testify first.

According to the New York Times, Pecker, who ran the company that owned The National Enquirer, allegedly had multiple conversations with the Trump about payments, as well as "catch and kill" stories about Trump.

In one instance, a doorman at Trump Tower attempted to sell a false story about Trump fathering an illegitimate child. Pecker purchased the story, along with a story by model Karen McDougal, and never ran them.

In regards to this case, Pecker turned down Daniels's story about an affair with the former president, because her price was too high. Instead, it is alleged that the publisher alerted Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen to the allegations she was making against his client.

Cohen has claimed that he paid Daniels $130,000 to not publish her story about the alleged sexual encounter. Trump is not accused of reimbursing Cohen and classifying those payments to his attorney as legal a fees in bookkeeping records.

In a 2018 letter, Cohen's team wrote a letter to the Federal Election Commission which revealed that the then-president was not involved in the payment to Daniels, but that Cohen paid the money out of his own pocket.

The letter read, "In a private transaction in 2016, before the US presidential election, Mr. Cohen used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford."

"Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly," it added, "neither Mr. Cohen nor Essential Consultants LLC made any in-kind contributions to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., or any other presidential campaign committee."

Trump has denied the allegations that an affair took place, as has the adult actress, and pleaded not guilty to the falsifying business records charges.

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