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Hush Money Trial Enters 3rd Week, Begins With Gag Order Ruling and $9K Fine for Trump
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By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
April 30, 2024

Three testified in Trump's criminal trial, including Keith Davidson, former lawyer for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.(AP/Eduardo Munoz)

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NEW YORK — Witness testimony in Donald Trump’s criminal trial advanced on Tuesday with three people taking the stand, including Keith Davidson, a lawyer who previously represented Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in hush money negotiations involving the former president.

Davidson’s Testimony

Davidson’s testimony dominated the afternoon, highlighting his interactions with Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen and detailing the lead-up to a deal that ultimately came with a $130,000 payment to Daniels.

Tuesday’s proceedings, however, kicked off with the judge holding Trump in contempt and fining him $9,000 over nine online posts that he found violated a gag order barring the former president from speaking publicly about jurors and witnesses in the case.

Merchan warned that if Trump does it again, he could be jailed.

When court resumes Thursday, another hearing will be held on four more alleged gag order violations.

A New York state appeals court on Tuesday also rejected Trump’s request for a stay of the trial while he appeals several pretrial rulings, including the trial judge’s refusal to recuse himself.

The Charges

The charges in the case center on $130,000 in payments that Trump’s company made to Cohen. Prosecutors say Trump obscured the true nature of those payments and falsely recorded them as legal expenses.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The case is the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury.

Trump Hits Out at Gag Order as Court Adjourns for the Day

Donald Trump complained about the gag order in his hush money trial, as well as other things as he left the courthouse Tuesday following the adjournment of the day’s proceedings.

The former president approached news cameras in the courthouse hallway on his way out and hit on familiar themes, including accusing Judge Juan M. Merchan of bias and of rushing the case, and also saying he should be out campaigning.

Trump was found in contempt of court earlier in the day and fined $9,000 for nine violations of the gag order, which bars him from speaking publicly about witnesses and jurors in the case.

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