Former National Enquirer publisher testifies that Trump 'had no idea' about plans for him to reimburse Cohen for Stormy Daniels story

Pecker testified that when he spoke with Trump about Trump reimbursing Cohen for buying the story, Trump had "no idea what Pecker was talking about."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

During testimony on Thursday in Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s falsified business records case against TrumpDavid Pecker, former chairman of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, said that Trump had "no idea" what Pecker was talking about when he asked about Michael Cohen being reimbursed for the Stormy Daniels story.

Pecker testified that when he spoke with Trump about Trump reimbursing Cohen for buying the story, Trump had "no idea what Pecker was talking about."

Trump's defense began their cross-examination of Pecker, the first of the prosecution’s witnesses, who testified over the three days that court has been in session this week, on Thursday afternoon.

Trump defense attorney Emil Bove conducted the cross-examination, asking Pecker, "Under your watch, you only published about half the stories that you purchased, is that right?"

"That’s about right," Pecker responded, according to NBC News.

Pecker was asked if there were "also instances where AMI purchased a story in order to use it as leverage against a celebrity," to which Pecker responded, "that’s correct."

Bove also asked Pecker whether "there were also instances where AMI would purchase stories to get a celebrity to participate in an interview or use their likeness” and “to use against a celebrity and you were not going to use it," to which Pecker responded "yes" to both.

"AMI has used hundreds of thousands of source agreements for these purposes, correct?"

Pecker responded "yes."

Bove also asked whether Pecker had a strategy of not publishing negative stories about Trump spanning back well before the stories in question were bought and not published, as well as whether Pecker let Trump know in 1998 about a negative story regarding Marla Maples, with Pecker responding in the affirmative, Inner City Press reported from inside the courtroom.

He was asked whether he tried to stop the story, and whether he ran positive Trump stories to make money, with Pecker responding yes.

Bove asked Pecker about a number of public figures and whether he had purchased stories, whether to not publish the story or get something from the figure. These figures included Ron Perlman of Revlon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tiger Woods. Regarding Woods, Bove asked whether Pecker used photos of women meeting with Woods in a parking lot to force him to appear on the cover of Men’s Fitness, to which Pecker said yes.

Another figure Bove asked about was Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff from 2009 to 2010. Emanuel was also elected to be Chicago’s mayor in 2011, and now serves as President Biden’s ambassador to Japan.

Pecker admitted that Ari Emanuel, a Hollywood agent, requested Pecker’s help in suppressing a story about Rahm Emanuel having an affair in 2009.

Bove called into question Pecker’s recollection of when the August 2015 meeting with Trump and Cohen took place, noting that he told the grand jury it was in early August and later said it was in mid-August. Bove asked Pecker about the frequency of meetings with prosecutors, with Pecker saying he met with prosecutors four or five times this year and federal prosecutors five or six times.

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