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Trump's Hush Money Trial Resumes Amid Prosecutors' Secrecy, Potential Contempt Charges

Updated: May 1

The Donald Trump hush money business fraud trial will enter its third week this Tuesday. The Manhattan District Attorney's office remains secretive about its plan, and will continue questioning Michael Cohen’s former banker, Gary Farro.

Trump in court during trial

Prosecutors hold back on revealing their witness order, citing Trump's unpredictable public comments. They aim to protect the witnesses from public scrutiny on social media. Judge Juan Merchan has not decided yet on holding Trump accountable for violating a gag order on disclosing details about trial witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and their families.

Trump might face a $1,000 fine for each of the 14 alleged violations in his public comments and social media posts, according to the prosecutors. They also appealed for a warning against Trump that he could end up in jail if he continues violating the gag order.

Judge Merchan already listened to arguments regarding 10 of these alleged violations last Tuesday and has set another hearing this Thursday for the remaining four.

Crucial Witness to Resume Testifying

Despite the high-profile nature of the case, prosecutors assure that this trial will mainly focus on routine, document-heavy examination. Gary Farro's testimony will delve into the intricate paperwork connected with the 34 counts of falsifying business records Trump is charged with.

Farro is anticipated to explain the paperwork tied to a home equity line of credit Cohen used to make the payment to Daniels. Farro will also discuss the paper trail behind the shell company and bank account Cohen established in Delaware for the supposed payment to AMI for Karen McDougal's story rights. This payment, however, never materialized and the account was never funded.

Farro's testimony also indicates a change in Cohen's plan to open an account for Essential Consultants. This entity was used to pay Daniels as part of the hush money scheme to conceal her story about an alleged affair with Trump.

Previous Witnesses Set the Stage

David Pecker, former tabloid publisher, gave a comprehensive testimony last week, providing crucial context for the jury. He discussed America Media Inc.'s role in aiding Trump during the 2016 election, with Cohen serving as the liaison.

Rhona Graff, Trump's longtime assistant, also testified last Friday. She reminisced about seeing Daniels at Trump's office once, years before the 2016 election. The jury was shown contact entries for Daniels and McDougal in the Trump Organization system. Graff confirmed that she had input the contact information for Trump.

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