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Day 9 of Trump New York hush money trial

Catch up on the key takeaways after the ninth day of Donald Trump’s historic hush money trial wrapped.

Trump is fined – and faces more later this week: Before the jury was called in Tuesday morning, Judge Juan Merchan fined Trump for nine violations – $1,000 each, the maximum allowed by law – of the judge’s gag order barring public discussion of witnesses in the case or the jury. This came after prosecutors had filed a motion to hold Trump in contempt over his social media posts and public comments about Cohen, Daniels and the makeup of the jury pool.

This won’t be Trump’s last run-in with Merchan’s gag order. Last week, the district attorney’s office cited another four comments from Trump that allegedly violated the order. Merchan has scheduled a hearing on those violations for Thursday. In his order, the judge warned Trump that he could be imprisoned if he continues to willfully violate the gag order. Merchan could jail Trump for 30 days for finding him in contempt.

Daniels’ lawyer takes the stand: Keith Davidson, an LA-based attorney, represented both Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels when they were shopping stories about their romantic relations with Trump in 2016. He described in detail his conversations with American Media Inc.’s then-chief content officer Dylan Howard – aided by text exchanges between the two rich in detail to help freshen up Davidson’s memory – as he cut a $150,000 deal with AMI for McDougal’s story and then struck a $130,000 deal directly with Trump’s then-fixer Michael Cohen for Daniels after AMI backed out.

Jurors hear about the Stormy Daniels payment paper trail: Cohen’s former banker Gary Farro returned Tuesday morning to walk the jury through Cohen’s bank activity around the payment to Daniels. Records show it took Cohen less than 24 hours to open an account for a shell company and use it to wire the money to Daniels’ attorney. The banker also said First Republic Bank closed all of Cohen’s accounts, leaving only his existing mortgages with the institution, after news of the Daniels hush money payment became public.

Trump videos played for the jury in court: Prosecutors used records custodians to enter several video clips into evidence Tuesday morning.

  • Three C-SPAN clips of Trump speaking at public events were played for the jury.
  • Two clips from October 2016 campaign events showed then-candidate Trump vehemently denying allegations from women who publicly accused him of sexual assault after the “Access Hollywood” tape was released earlier that month.
  • In a clip from January 11, 2017, President-elect Trump praised Cohen.
  • Snippets from Trump’s October 2022 deposition taken for his E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuits were also admitted into evidence and played in court.
  • Prosecutors also played a clip from the deposition where Trump described that Truth Social was a platform he opened as an alternative to Twitter.
  • In another clip, Trump responds to questions confirming that he is married to Melania Trump, since 2005.
  • Jurors also saw Trump identify himself as the speaker in the Access Hollywood” tape during that deposition – although no video clip was played in relation to the question about the Access Hollywood” tape, nor the tape itself. (The judge previously ruled only a transcript of the audio could be admitted into evidence  not the video footage.)

Trump allies in court: Trump’s son, Eric Trump, attended the trial – the first family member of the former president to appear during the trial. Others present included: Susie Wiles, Trump’s senior campaign adviser, Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, and David McIntosh, who has cofounded conservative political groups including the Club for Growth.

Trump can attend his son’s graduation: Before the trial began, Trump’s attorneys had asked for May 17 off so that Trump could attend his son Barron’s graduation. The judge had said he didn’t know yet if that was possible – but on Tuesday, Merchan said things were moving quickly enough that he was comfortable having no court that day so Trump could attend graduation. Trump had previously attacked the judge for preventing him from attending Barron’s graduation, even though the judge had only previously said he was withholding a decision on the request.

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