Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

The Trump trial: how a NY tabloid boosted his 2016 campaign

By triji Apr 24, 2024
News

Fake news, assaults on the billionaire’s rivals… On Tuesday, the “National Enquirer” publisher revealed the “highly confidential” arrangement to help Donald Trump win the White House.

David Pecker and Donald Trump had a “excellent relationship” for years. In Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday, April 23, they face off. This is a strong part of the trial, presenting a mind-boggling look into the gutter press, which follows the checkbook and acts on command in defiance of the facts. The former CEO of American Media Inc. (AMI), who receives immunity for his cooperation, calmly described his pleasant and interested relationship with the ex-president, which led to his 2015 and 2016 victories.

Both New Yorkers, David Pecker from the Bronx and Donald Trump from Queens, had traits such as being outsiders, ambitious, and seeking authority. Phone calls were frequent throughout the 2010s. David Pecker, president of The National Enquirer, visited Trump Tower occasionally.

Their contacts increased when the entrepreneur ran in the 2015 Republican primary. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s lawyer and handyman, mediated the two men. David Pecker believes he met Michael Cohen during a 2000s bar mitzvah. David Pecker attended the Trump Tower candidacy announcement on June 16, 2015.

New York (AP)— A veteran tabloid publisher testified Tuesday that he offered to be Donald Trump’s “eyes and ears” during his 2016 presidential campaign, suppressing bad reports and even buying a doorman’s silence.

David Pecker’s testimony supported the prosecution’s claim that Trump and the former National Enquirer publisher had a decades-long friendship that ended with an agreement to inform Trump’s lawyer of negative tips and stories so they could be quashed.

In order to elevate the history-making first trial of a former American president and the first of four criminal cases against Trump to reach a jury, prosecutors have claimed that the effort illegally influenced the election. The presumed Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony counts of falsifying company records for hush money payments to stifle unfavorable headlines in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

The first witness, Pecker, described his behind-the-scenes involvement in Trump’s journey from political neophyte to the Republican nominee and the White House with Trump sitting only feet away. He explained how he and the National Enquirer used rumor-mongering to smear Trump’s opponents and suppressed troubling stories about Trump, such as a porn actor’s claim of an extramarital affair years earlier.

Pecker said they met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, in the 1980s and grew closer as “The Apprentice” and its celebrity version became successful.

In an August 2015 meeting at Trump Tower with Trump, his lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen, and another staffer, Hope Hicks, Pecker was asked what he and his magazines could do for the campaign, cementing their relationship.

Pecker said he volunteered to laud Trump and criticize his opponents. He also told jurors that he assured Trump, “I will be your eyes and ears.”

“I said that anything I hear in the marketplace, if I hear anything negative about yourself, or if I hear anything about women selling stories, I would notify Michael Cohen,” to buy the rights and delete the stories.

“To prevent publication, you mean?” asked prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.

“So they wouldn’t get published, yes” Pecker said.

Prosecutors showed a screenshot of National Enquirer headlines like “Donald Dominates!” and “World Exclusive: The Donald Trump Nobody Knows.” The jurors also saw derogatory and exaggerated stories about Trump’s opponents, including surgeon Ben Carson and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Pecker portrayed Cohen as a shadow editor of the National Enquirer’s pro-Trump coverage who directed the tabloid to attack the Republican candidate gathering steam.

I would receive a call from Michael Cohen, and he would advise me and Dylan Howard on which candidate and direction we should go,” Pecker said of the tabloid’s then-editor.

Pecker told Howard the Trump operation arrangement was “highly, highly confidential.” He instructed the tabloid’s bureau heads to monitor Trump stories and verify them before alerting Cohen.

“I did not want anyone else to know about this agreement I had and what I wanted to do,” the ex-publisher said.

Cohen pleaded guilty to federal hush money charges in 2018. Trump once confided in him, but their friendship soured dramatically. Cohen often insults Trump on social media and is likely to be a top government witness.

Trump’s lawyers are likely to assault Cohen’s credibility, but prosecutors wanted to start with Pecker, a witness with a less contentious past. In addition to claiming innocence, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche told jurors that Cohen is untrustworthy and has “an obsession with getting Trump.”

After prosecutors urged Judge Juan M. Merchan to hold Trump in contempt and fine him $1,000 for each of 10 social media posts that they say violated a gag order barring attacks on witnesses, jurors, and others involved in the case, Pecker testified Tuesday.

Merchan did not immediately rule, but he looked doubtful of defense claims that Trump was responding to insults and following the order.

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By triji

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