Politics

DA Alvin Bragg’s ‘Key Witness’ in Trump Trial Was A Huge Flop: Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


In an unexpected turn of events, David Pecker, one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, gave testimony at the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York that appears to have seriously hurt the case that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is pursuing.

People were expecting David Pecker, the former CEO of American Media Inc., which owned the scandal-plagued National Enquirer, to give important evidence against Trump. He had to talk about the well-known “catch and kill” scheme, which was a way for the tabloid to buy damaging stories about Trump during the 2016 election and then get rid of them.

But during cross-examination, Pecker’s comments seemed to tear apart the story that the prosecution had worked hard to build. Pecker said in court that Trump wasn’t the one who was most worried about potentially damaging stories because of Trump’s fame and history with women. It was him and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

In his testimony, Pecker, who was CEO of the Enquirer’s parent company at the time, said that in 2015, he agreed to be Trump’s “eyes and ears” and would tell Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, about any stories that could be harmful.

As part of a plan he called “catch and kill,” he bought the rights to these stories but didn’t publish them, which kept them secret.

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Political commentators and the media noted what happened, with much coverage focusing on the possible mistakes Bragg’s team might have made.

“Did the prosecution comprehend that they just looked silly?” “Their main witness just said that Trump didn’t even think of any of this,” a political analyst from Travis Media Group tweeted after the testimony.

“Pecker effectively testified today that he and Cohen drummed up this scheme, without Trump’s instruction. Not a good day for Alvin Bragg and Joe Biden!!!” Raheem Kassam of the National Pulse tweeted.

Pecker told Michael Cohen that he got in touch with him after an editor at the National Enquirer learned that a doorman at Trump Tower was trying to sell “a story that Donald Trump fathered an illegitimate girl with a maid at Trump Tower,” according to CBS News.

Pecker eventually concluded that the claim was false. Witnesses saw Trump firmly shaking his head, looking at Blanche, and saying “no” in his head while he testified in court about the claim.

“Immediately, Michael Cohen says to me, ‘Absolutely not true, but I’ll check it out,’” Pecker recounted. Later, he informed Cohen that an editor from the National Enquirer had arranged to purchase the tale for $30,000. This marked the first instance of the magazine opting to buy a story concerning Trump.

“I said I’ll pay for it, this is a very big story and it should be removed from the market,” Pecker said, explaining his conversation with Cohen.

“He said, ‘Thank you,’ and, ‘The boss will be very pleased,’” Pecker testified, adding that it was clear that “the boss” referred to Trump.

Jurors were able to see the “source agreement” that Sajudin, who might testify, signed during the trial. The agreement contained a clause cautioning that Sajudin might face a $1 million lawsuit for any breach.

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Pecker informed Cohen that he might release the story after the election to avoid embarrassing the campaign if it was true.

“I thought if the story was true… it would be probably the biggest story for the National Enquirer since the death of Elvis Presley,” Pecker said during his testimony. The story never went to press. A payment invoice to Sajudin was internally labeled as “regarding ‘Trump’ non-published story.”

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