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The Latest | Third week of witness testimony in Trump’s hush money trial is set to kick off

NEW YORK (AP) — Witness testimony in Donald Trump’s hush money trial is set to resume Monday morning, setting the stage for an even deeper dive into the events and people involved in what prosecutors have said was a scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and burying negative stories about the candidate.

The trial is in its 12th day.

Former Trump adviser Hope Hicks took the stand last week, recounting how Trump’s campaign was turned upside-down following the leak of a video wherein he bragged about grabbing women without their permission.

Keith Davidson, who represented porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in hush money negotiations, also took the stand. Davidson spent hours detailing his role in securing payouts for Daniels and McDougal in exchange for their silence about previous sexual encounters they said they had with Trump.

Trump also faced a second contempt hearing over whether he had again violated his gag order over four more prospective violations. Judge Juan M. Merchan has not yet ruled on that sanctions request. Trump was fined $9,000 earlier in the week over gag order violations.

Overall, prosecutors are setting the stage for pivotal testimony from Cohen, who paid Daniels $130,000 for her silence before he went to prison for the hush money scheme.

Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records to cover up hush money payments — including the payment to Daniels — recording them instead 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.

Currently:

— Hush money, catch and kill and more: Terms to know in Trump trial

— What Trump’s gag order means in his hush money case

— Key players: Who’s who at Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial

— The hush money case is just one of Trump’s legal cases. See the others here

— Hulk Hogan, hurricanes and a blockbuster recording: A week in the Trump hush money trial

Here’s the latest:

WHO’S BEEN ON THE STAND SO FAR

Witness testimony in Donald Trump’s criminal trial is entering its third week on Monday and it remains to be seen who will take the stand next.

Over the past couple weeks, however, jurors have heard from a host of different people.

Following a weeklong jury selection process that began mid-April, jurors heard first from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, who among other things explained his pledge to be the “eyes and ears” of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Keith Davidson, a lawyer who represented porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in hush money negotiations, also took the stand. And jurors heard from others such as a forensic analyst who examined Michael Cohen’s phones and a paralegal with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

And Former White House press secretary and ex-Trump adviser Hope Hicks painted a vivid picture of the chaos that unfolded after the “Access Hollywood” tape leaked and the Wall Street Journal ran a story about McDougal’s hush money deal.

The defense cross-examined Hicks for roughly 20 minutes before court adjourned early last Friday.

THE WITNESS HEARD, BUT NOT YET SEEN

Although an ensemble of different people have testified in Donald Trump’s hush money case over the past two weeks, one pivotal witness has been frequently heard but not yet seen: Michael Cohen.

Jurors last week began hearing Cohen’s words on audio recordings as prosecutors worked to directly tie Trump to payments to silence women with damaging claims about him before the 2016 election.

Jurors heard, in particular, a potentially crucial piece of evidence: a recording of Trump and Cohen, then his attorney, discussing a plan to pay off an ex-Playboy model who claimed to have an affair with Trump. The former president denies the affair.

They also heard a few witnesses recount their interactions with Cohen — some pleasant and others far less so.

It’s unclear when the prosecution’s star witness will take the stand.

TRUMP EXPECTED IN COURT AS TRIAL ENTERS 12TH DAY

Donald Trump is expected to return to Manhattan court as his hush money trial enters its 12th day.

Last week’s proceedings saw a frenzy of witnesses take the stand, including former Trump adviser Hope Hicks and Keith Davidson, a lawyer who represented porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in hush money negotiations with Cohen and the National Enquirer.

The week also saw Trump fined $9,000 by Judge Juan M. Merchan for violating a gag order that bars the former president from speaking publicly about key witnesses, jurors and others in the case. A second contempt hearing was heard on Thursday over four more prospective violations, but Merchan did not immediately issue a decision.

The Associated Press



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