Donald Trump Aide and Bank Executive Testify in Hush Money Case

Key witnesses detail internal dynamics in high-stakes trial.

by Nouman Rasool
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Donald Trump Aide and Bank Executive Testify in Hush Money Case
© Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

The series of dramatic developments still continued in the high-profile hush money trial of former President Donald Trump, where his long-time assistant at Trump Organization, Rhona Graff, gave testimony under subpoena. Graff, who has worked for Trump for 34 years managing his contacts and schedule, confirmed to have maintained a list including former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels, who both claimed to have had affairs with Trump in 2006 and were paid off for their silence during the 2016 campaign.

David Pecker, a former executive at American Media Inc., also took the stand, intensifying the trial's scrutiny. Pecker detailed his role in suppressing damaging stories about Trump, revealing that Trump and his then-lawyer Michael Cohen enlisted him in 2015 to act as their "eyes and ears" against potentially harmful narratives.

He testified about a 2017 meeting where Trump expressed gratitude for Pecker's efforts to quash scandalous stories, contradicting earlier FBI interview notes suggesting no such thanks were given.

Testimony Authenticates Documents

Prosecutors are using Graff's testimony to authenticate crucial documents like Trump's contact list and calendar, portraying a meticulously maintained network that links Trump to payments made to McDougal and Daniels.

Meanwhile, Trump's defense team highlighted Graff's positive experiences working for Trump, using her testimony to paint a more favorable image of him. The trial also revisited interactions involving Stormy Daniels at Trump Tower, with Graff recalling Daniels’ presence and confirming she was known as an adult film actress.

Discussions suggested Daniels' visit might have been related to a potential appearance on Trump’s show "Celebrity Apprentice." The courtroom drama extended to Pecker’s credibility under cross-examination, with Trump's lawyer challenging inconsistencies in his recollections and questioning the motives behind the National Enquirer's story purchases.

Pecker admitted the tabloid often bought stories it never intended to publish, using them as leverage for other exclusives. As the trial progresses, the testimonies of Graff and Pecker offer a deeper look into the behind-the-scenes efforts to influence the narrative surrounding Trump’s presidential campaign.

The trial will resume with further testimony from Gary Farro, a bank executive involved in the financial transactions linked to the hush money payments. This ongoing legal battle continues to draw attention, shedding light on the complex web of relationships and transactions that could influence the jury's verdict.

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