Trump NYC hush money trial to resume with banker’s testimony

Reuters – Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial is set to resume in New York on Tuesday with testimony from a banker familiar with accounts involved in the former U.S. president’s alleged scheme to influence the 2016 election by covering up a sex scandal.

Trump, the Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election, is charged with falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump in 2006.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied having sex with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

The historic criminal trial is the first of a former U.S. president and began on April 22.

Roughly two dozen Trump supporters rallied outside the courthouse on Tuesday morning, chanting his name and waving banners that read “TRUMP 24”. A local Republican organisation had called for supporters to turn out after Trump complained that few people were protesting the trial.

Banker Garry Farro, who is not accused of wrongdoing, testified on Friday about financial records filed by Trump’s onetime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who prosecutors say helped carry out the scheme.

Trump is required to attend the trial and has said he could instead be campaigning ahead of his rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 election.

The criminal case is one of four pending against Trump, but could be the only one to go to trial and result in a verdict before the election.

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, a longtime Trump friend, testified last week that he used his supermarket tabloid to suppress negative stories about Trump and tar his rivals ahead of the 2016 election.

Pecker told jurors the Enquirer often bought exclusive rights to damaging stories about celebrities with no intention of publishing them — a practice known as “catch and kill.”

Daniels is also expected to testify, along with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who says Trump paid her $150,000 for her silence about a yearlong affair she said they had in 2006 and 2007.

Trump has denied having an affair with McDougal.

Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer who became a nemesis after an acrimonious break nearly six years ago, is also expected to testify. Cohen has said he arranged and disguised the payments at the direction of Trump, who Cohen said later reimbursed him.

Trump has also been charged in Georgia and Washington for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden and in Florida over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and called the cases political witch hunts.

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