The grand jury investigating alleged payments made by former President Donald Trump to porn star Stormy Daniels reconvened on Monday in Manhattan and heard testimony from key witness David Pecker.
Former CEO of American Media, Inc. and publisher of the tabloid The National Enquirer, was seen entering the building on Monday afternoon, where he testified before the panel, two sources told CBS News.
In the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Pecker allegedly played a key role in connecting Daniels with attorney Michael Cohen, who later secured a non-disclosure agreement from the adult film star for $130,000.
Pecker was the CEO of American Media, Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer, until 2020. According to the New York Times, this is the second time Pecker has appeared before the jury.
In 2018, American Media, Inc. admitted to paying a woman in 2016 who alleged that she had an affair with Trump "so as to prevent it from influencing the election," The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York said, according to CBS News.
The office said the company "admitted that it made the $150,000 payment ... in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate."
The House Judiciary Committee has called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation of the 2024 presidential candidate an "unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority," with Chairman Jim Jordan writing in a letters to former DA office workers, "Your criticisms of Bragg's investigation were widely reported. It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called 'zombie' case."
One letter from Stephen Ryan, counselor for Cohen, to Jordan in 2018 revealed that Cohen used his personal funds to make the payment, and "neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with [Daniels], and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly."
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