Trump compliments prosecution’s first witness in criminal trial: ‘very nice’

Former President Donald Trump lauded the first witness in his trial in Manhattan, former tabloid publisher David Pecker, as a “nice guy” earlier Thursday ahead of court. 

“He’s been very nice. David’s been very nice. He’s a nice guy,” Trump told the media while meeting with construction crews in the city early Thursday morning. 

Pecker is the prosecution team’s first witness in the NY v. Trump case, where the 45th president is facing 34 charges of falsifying business records. 

Pecker is the former CEO of American Media Inc., the parent company of publications such as the National Enquirer, who has known Trump stretching back to the 1980s. The former media publisher took the stand earlier this week, where he testified regarding “catch and kill schemes” to allegedly bury negative information about Trump ahead of the 2016 election. 

LIVE UPDATES: TRUMP NY TRIAL TESTIMONY RESUMES AS SUPREME COURT HEARS IMMUNITY ARGUMENTS

Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower

Former US president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to attend his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs in New York, on April 22, 2024. Donald Trumps unprecedented criminal trial is set for opening statements after final jury selection ended Friday, leaving the Republican presidential candidate facing weeks of hostile testimony that will overshadow his White House campaign.   (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

“Catch-and-kill” schemes are understood as tactics used by media and publishing companies to buy the rights of a person’s story with no intention of publishing it. The NY v. Trump case specifically revolves around a payment of $130,000 given to former pornographic actress Stormy Daniels by former Trump personal attorney in 2016 to allegedly silence her claims she had an extramarital affair with Trump in 2006. 

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY CASE

David Pecker is questioned during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial

David Pecker is questioned during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. April 23, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg )

Pecker testified Thursday that he first heard of Daniels’ claims of a sexual affair with Trump after the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape was unearthed ahead of the election in 2016. He said that Daniels was selling rights to her story for $120,000, which Pecker said the media company could not afford. 

TRUMP ATTORNEY, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CLASH ON WHETHER A PRESIDENT WHO ‘ORDERED’ A ‘COUP’ COULD BE PROSECUTED

David Pecker speaking in microphone

David Pecker, chair and CEO of American Media, speaks at the Shape and Men’s Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Marion Curtis/File Photo (Reuters)

“I am not a bank,” Pecker said he told National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard of the tip and sale of Daniels’ story. Howard then told Pecker he would contact Cohen about the matter, Pecker said. 

Prosecutors allege that after Cohen paid Daniels in exchange for silence on the alleged affair, Trump fraudulently logged reimbursements to the personal lawyer as legal expenses. Prosecutors in the case are trying to prove that Trump falsified business records in “furtherance of another crime.” The DA’s office said the other crime is the violation of a New York law against “conspiracy to promote or prevent election.”

TRUMP SAYS NY JUDGE MERCHAN ‘THINKS HE IS ABOVE THE SUPREME COURT’ AFTER BARRING HIM FROM IMMUNITY ARGUMENTS

A court sketch depicts the third day of former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan Criminal Court

A court sketch depicts the third day of former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday, April 18, 2024. Jury selection for the alleged hush money case remains ongoing after two seated jurors were dismissed earlier today. (Christine Cornell)

Simultaneous to the trial Thursday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for another Trump case: Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference charges. The case charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. The case stems from Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of Trump breached the U.S. Capitol. 

The Supreme Court is currently weighing whether Trump has presidential immunity in the case. 

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“We have a big case today — this judge wouldn’t allow me to go, but we have a big case today at the Supreme Court on presidential immunity,” Trump said to the press, referring to the Supreme Court weighing whether Trump is immune from prosecution in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case. 

“A president has to have immunity,” he added. “If you don’t have immunity, you just have a ceremonial president.”

“We want Trump,” supporters of the president said during the event. 

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