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Day 9 of Trump's Hush Money Trial: 4 Key Takeaways

The Los Angeles-based attorney representing Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, Keith Davidson, testified about orchestrating deals to suppress their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, interpreting these"catch-and-kill" tactics as a means to shield Trump from political pitfalls during his hush money trial. Trump is charged with falsifying business records to conceal the repayment of hush money given to Daniels by his previous attorney, Michael Cohen, to enhance his chances in the 2016 presidential race. Trump dismisses all allegations of misconduct.


Trump in court during Hush Money trial

Davidson conveyed that interest in Stormy Daniels' claim spiked in late 2016 following the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape where Trump is heard making inappropriate remarks about women. He believed that Trump, not Cohen who eventually settled, would take responsibility for her silence. Meanwhile, Judge Juan Merchan held Trump in criminal contempt, imposing a $9,000 fine for multiple violations of the case's limited gag order. The judge scheduled a 9:30 a.m. hearing on Thursday to address four additional infringements by Trump.


Core of District Attorney's Case: Trump's Political Aspirations

Davidson's testimony hit the crux of the district attorney's case, linking Cohen's inaction to Trump's political aspirations. Davidson expressed growing annoyance with Cohen's delay in compensating his client, Stormy Daniels, after arranging a deal for her silence before the 2016 presidential election. He suspected Cohen's goal was to postpone the payment until after the vote. Davidson conveyed that he believed Cohen lacked the authority to expend funds, but assumed Trump would eventually make the payment.


McDougal's Deal with National Enquirer

On June 7, 2016, Davidson texted Dylan Howard, a National Enquirer editor, with a sensational Trump story. Their text exchanges during negotiations were displayed to the jury. According to Davidson, McDougal was wavering between two deals, but only the National Enquirer could provide her what she truly desired: not needing to disclose her story. McDougal sought to reinvigorate her career and earn money, but also to avoid becoming the 'other woman.


Trump Faces Criminal Contempt and $9,000 Fine

Prior to Tuesday's testimony, Judge Merchan ruled Trump in criminal contempt for repeatedly breaching the case's limited gag order by targeting potential witnesses on social media. Merchan ordered Trump to pay $1,000 for each of the nine infringements, warned him of potential jail time for further deliberate violations, and mandated the removal of offending posts. Trump complied during the lunch break and is required to pay the fine by the end of this business week.


Jury Previews Trump's Comments on Women's Claims

Jurors viewed videos of Trump from 2016 and 2017, commenting on women who publicly claimed extramarital affairs. The videos exhibited Trump denying the allegations during two 2016 campaign events and a 2017 press conference after his presidential election. Trump dismissed these stories as 100% fictional and claimed they would never occur.

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