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Trump trial live updates: Judge rebukes Michael Cohen ahead of expected testimony Monday

trump-trial-live-updates:-judge-rebukes-michael-cohen-ahead-of-expected-testimony-monday

Trump trial live updates: Judge rebukes Michael Cohen ahead of expected testimony Monday

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(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 10, 1:19 PM
Judge rebukes Cohen ahead of Monday’s expected testimony

Judge Merchan communicated a bit of a warning to Michael Cohen ahead of his planned testimony next week, telling prosecutors to ask him to stop talking about the case after Trump’s team brought up his continued out-of-court statements.

“I would direct the people to communicate to Mr. Cohen that the judge is asking him to refrain from making any more statements about this case,” Merchan said.

“That comes from the bench and you are communicating that on behalf of the bench,” said the judge.

Merchan’s rebuke came after defense attorney Todd Blanche brought up recent statements by Cohen, including his appearing on TikTok this week wearing a shirt with a photo of Trump behind bars.

“It’s becoming a problem every single day that President Trump is not allowed to respond to this witness,” Blanche urged. “He has stated on social media that he is going to stop talking, and he doesn’t,” Blanche said of Cohen.

Prosecutors said they had already “repeatedly” asked Cohen and others not to post about the case, but claimed they had no control over the witnesses.

Court was subsequently adjourned for the week.

May 10, 1:12 PM
Judge suggests Weisselberg could testify

With the jury out of the courtroom, defense lawyer Emil Bove argued that Judge Merchan should not allow former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s severance agreement with the company to get into evidence.

Weisselberg, who is currently serving a five-month sentence on New York’s Rikers Island for committing perjury during Trump’s civil fraud trial, he received a $2 million severance agreement from the Trump Organization.

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy argued the separation agreement “offers a real explanation for why he is not going to be here in this trial.”

“We just respectfully disagree with that,” Bove responded, saying Weisselberg is not testifying because the district attorney’s office pursued a perjury case against him.

Judge Merchan did not issue a ruling on the matter but suggested the parties might have “jumped the gun” by suggesting Weisselberg can’t testify “without making an effort to get him here.”

As an alternative, Merchan suggested that Weisselberg could testify outside the presence of the jury before determining the appropriate next step.

May 10, 1:05 PM
Prosecutors could rest their case by end of next week

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass indicted that the state’s case could be headed into the home stretch.

“We expect to call potentially two witnesses” next week, Steinglass told Judge Merchan, saying it is “entirely possible” the state rests their case by the end of next week.

That will be followed by the presentation of the defense’s case, then a prosecution rebuttal.

In another sign of how quickly the case is moving along, Merchan also invited the parties to begin submitting suggestions for the jury charge — the instructions on the law delivered by the judge before the jury begins deliberating.

May 10, 12:50 PM
Defense tries to show Pecker-Hicks call never took place

Defense attorney Emil Bove used DA office paralegal Jaden Jarmel-Schneider’s testimony to highlight a point about former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and longtime top Trump aide Hope Hicks.

Earlier in the trial, Pecker testified about a phone call he had with with Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders where they discussed extending Karen McDougal’s “catch-and-kill” agreement with the publication.

However, Hicks testified that she never had such a phone call with Pecker.

Bove, during his cross-examination of Jarmel-Schneider, suggested that no phone records exist to document the call taking place.

“I don’t think that’s true,” Jarmel-Schneider responded, muddying Bove’s point. The two briefly discussed which exhibit might contain a record of the call.

Bove subsequently completed his cross-examination.

With the day’s testimony over, Judge Merchan then dismissed the jury for the weekend.

May 10, 12:34 PM
Jurors see chart of 34 records Trump allegedly falsified

Jurors saw a summary exhibit prepared by DA office paralegal Jaden Jarmel-Schneider that breaks down the 34 records that prosecutors allege Trump falsified in the course of repaying Michael Cohen for Stormy Daniels’ hush money payment.

The exhibit shows each of the vouchers, checks, and invoices — broken down by each criminal count — that prosecutors say Trump falsified to disguise his reimbursement to Cohen.

The chart appears to be the jury’s clearest roadmap so far to each of the documents at the center of the case.

Defense attorney Emil Bove — once a paralegal himself — began his cross-examination by asking Jarmel-Schneider how much time he spent on the project, suggesting it was “tedious.”

“Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it,” Jarmel-Schneider said, prompting jurors and several members of the gallery to break out into laughter.

“I hear you — respect,” Bove said in a rare moment of levity.

May 10, 12:21 PM
Custodial witness testifies about phone call exhibits

Prosecutors next called Jaden Jarmel-Schneider, another paralegal with the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Jarmel-Schneider testified that he prepared exhibits to summarize the phone calls between relevant witnesses in the case.

Using the phone records, Jarmel-Schneider said he removed extraneous calls, standardized the time zones, and created charts to act as a “roadmap” so jurors could easily see the witnesses’ relevant communications.

These charts are likely to be used during Michael Cohen’s testimony, which is scheduled to start Monday, and the jury will have access to the records during their deliberations.

May 10, 11:42 AM
Witness reviews text messages with Daniels’ allegations

After reviewing a series of Trump’s tweets about Michael Cohen, custodial witness Georgia Longstreet read into evidence several 2016 text messages between Stormy Daniels’ agent Gina Rodriguez and Dylan Howard of the National Enquirer.

“Story Daniels … I have her,” Rodriguez wrote in one text.

“Is she ready to talk,” Howard asked. “I thought she denounced it previously.”

“She said she would do it under two conditions,” Rodriguez wrote. “She doesn’t want to go on record about it but will tell the story through a source,” Rodriguez said.

“She’s had sex with him. She wants 100K,” Rodriguez wrote.

May 10, 11:35 AM
Witness reviews Trump tweets about Michael Cohen

Custodial witness Georgia Longstreet read into evidence a series of 2018 tweets by Trump.

“The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip,'” one tweet said.

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” read another tweet.

Prospectors are introducing these posts to demonstrate what they argue is a “pressure campaign” by Trump to prevent Michael Cohen’s cooperation with authorities.

Jurors also read a 2018 tweet from Trump where he denied an affair with Daniels but defended the nondisclosure arrangement between them as a “private” agreement.

Trump, marking up papers at the defense table, stopped as Longstreet read some of his tweets into the record. He stared at the tweets displayed on the monitor in front of him, then resumed writing.

May 10, 11:26 AM
Prosecutors call back paralegal from DA’s office

Prosecutors have called back to the stand Georgia Longstreet, a paralegal for the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Longstreet testified last week to introduce some of Trump’s social media posts into evidence.

Trump, sitting at the defense table, has been working diligently — scribbling notes and thumbing through a stack of papers, marking some of them, and then placing them in another pile.

May 10, 11:19 AM
Judge won’t admit Larry King interview as evidence

When court resumed after the mid-morning break, Judge Juan Merchan handed the defense a victory — ruling to block the state’s effort to include an excerpt of an interview Trump did with Larry King in 1999 as evidence.

“You are asking the jurors to draw an in inference that because Mr. Trump knew the laws in 1999, he knew them in 2016,” Merchan said in denying the request. “That’s a lot of speculation.”

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg entered the courtroom with prosecutors following the break. Trump turned around to look at the gallery before he sat down, appearing to spot Bragg.

Merchan signaled that the proceedings will likely end early today, after the prosecution calls its final two witnesses of the day.

May 10, 11:03 AM
Verizon employee testifies about Weisselberg’s phone records

Prosecutors next called custodial witness Jenny Tomalin, who works for Verizon, to testify about call records for former Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg’s Verizon mobile phone.

Prosecutors may refer to calls between Weisselberg and Michael Cohen when Cohen testifies next week.

Jurors saw toll records from Weisselberg which appeared to stretch to hundreds of pages, showing each of the calls placed and received by Weisselberg. The records detail the length of each call in minutes, as well as the date, time, origination, destination, and the other phone number.

After Tomalin’s direct examination concluded she stepped off the stand and court broke for the mid-morning recess.

May 10, 10:54 AM
AT&T analyst testifies about Cohen’s phone records

Prosecutors called Daniel Dixon, who works as a lead compliance analyst at AT&T, to testify as a custodian of records about cell phone data.

Prosecutors used his testimony to enter into evidence phone records for Michael Cohen’s company phone that jurors will likely see later when Cohen testifies.

As Dixon testified, Trump leaned forward in his chair with a yellow highlighter in hand, flipping through and marking up a stack of papers.

Defense attorney Emil Bove then did a detailed cross-examination of Dixon, as part of an effort to cast any possible doubt on records related to Cohen.

Dixon then stepped off the stand, with he and Trump exchanging tight smiles as he passed the defense table.

May 10, 10:25 AM
Westerhout exits with a quick word of thanks from Trump

During a short redirect examination, Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout confirmed that she currently works as the chief of staff for Robert C. O’Brien, who served as Trump’s national security adviser from 2019 to 2021.

Westerhout then concluded her testimony.

She and Trump both smiled at each other as she stepped off the witness stand. As she passed by the defense table, Trump whispered what appeared to be a brief word of thanks to her.

May 10, 10:19 AM
Westerhout says Trump was ‘very upset’ by WSJ article

Defense attorney Necheles concluded her cross-examination of Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout by asking Westerhout about Trump’s reaction to the 2018 Wall Street Journal story about the Stormy Daniels hush money payment.

Westerhout confirmed she spoke with Trump after the story came out and recalled that “he was very upset by it.”

“Why?” Necheles asked.

“My understanding is he knew it would be hurtful to his family,” Westerhout said.

Part of her testimony about Trump’s response was struck from the record because Westerhout could not recall Trump specifically mentioning his family.

“I could just tell that the whole situation was unpleasant,” Westerhout said.

May 10, 10:14 AM
Defense suggests avoiding White House mail is standard

Defense attorney Susan Necheles suggested that the practice of not mailing Trump’s personal items directly to the White House — including checks for him to sign — was a standard practice used by past presidents to quickly get their personal mail.

“It was a way that items could be sent to you and you could get them promptly to President Trump?” Necheles asked Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout, suggesting that security practices delayed mail sent to the White House and that packages might get lost.

“That’s right,” Westerhout said.

“This was a problem [that] … exists for everybody who is in that office?” Necheles later asked, suggesting past administrations used a similar solution.

“I don’t have any knowledge of what is was like in previous administrations, but I can’t imagine it would have been any different,” said Westerhout.

Necheles also sought to contradict the prosecution’s contention that Trump personally reviewed every check he signed.

“You said he signed a tremendous amount of documents … commissions, proclamations, executive orders, memos, letters … hundreds of documents a day?” Necheles asked Westerhout.

“Not every day, but sometimes,” Westerhout said.

“Sometimes he would sign checks without reviewing them?” Necheles asked.

“Yes,” said Westerhout.

May 10, 10:00 AM
Defense seeks to distance Trump from CFO, repayments

Seeking to distance Trump from his then-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — and thus the repayment arrangement for Michael Cohen — defense attorney Susan Necheles asked Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout, “I’m correct that you don’t ever have a recollection of Donald Trump and Allen Weisselberg speaking in his first year in office?”

“That’s correct, yes,” Westerhout responded.

Meanwhile, a long week of testimony appears to have caught up with some of the jurors, several of whom appear to be stifling yawns.

All 18 were leaning back into their chairs as attorneys gathered at the bench for a sidebar conference.

May 10, 9:52 AM
Defense asks Westerhout about Trump’s contact list

After taking the stand yesterday, Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout is back undergoing cross-examination by defense attorney Susan Necheles.

After asking Westerhout about her time at the Republican National Committee, where Westerhout worked before joining the Trump Administration, Necheles quickly changes topics, asking Westerhout about a list of contacts that Trump Organization executive assistant Rhona Graff shared with Westerhout in 2017.

Jurors yesterday saw the list of likely contacts — which included Tom Brady, Bret Baier, Sean Hannity, Jerry Falwell, Bill O’Reilly, and Joe Scarborough. Prosecutors emphasized that the list included Michael Cohen, Allen Weisselberg, and David Pecker.

“There were many people on that list who never called the Oval Office?” Necheles asked Westerhout.

“Many, yes,” Westerhout responded.

May 10, 9:37 AM
Judge quashes defense subpoena in written order

In an written order issued this morning, Judge Juan Merchan quashed the defense’s attempt to subpoena former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Mark Pomerantz.

Pomerantz resigned from the Manhattan district attorney’s office in 2022 soon after DA Alvin Bragg opted not to pursue his case against Trump.

Pomerantz later wrote a book about his investigation, and defense lawyers issued multiple requests for his records related to the book and files from his time with the Manhattan DA’s office.

In his ruling, Merchan said that Trump’s requests were too broad, sought irrelevant information, and were procedurally improper. He wrote some of the requests were “far too broad and amount to an improper fishing expedition into general discovery.”

May 10, 9:31 AM
Trump arrives in court

Donald Trump has entered the courtroom carrying a stack of papers.

He immediately took his seat at the defense table.

He is joined in court today by the woman who runs his presidential campaign, Susie Wiles, and his legal adviser Boris Ephsteyn.

May 10, 9:26 AM
Prosecutors arrive in courtroom

Prosecutors and staff from the Manhattan district attorney’s office have arrived in court.

Prosecutors Joshua Steinglass, Becky Mangold and Christopher Conroy are seated at counsel table.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is not present in court Friday morning.

May 10, 8:08 AM
Michael Cohen expected to testify Monday, sources say

Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s star witness in Donald Trump’s hush money trial, is expected to take the stand Monday, according to multiple sources familiar with the case.

Trump’s former attorney and “fixer,” Cohen made the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels that sits at the center of the case, in order to buy her silence and help Trump’s electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors accuse of Trump falsifying business records when he repaid Cohen the $130,000.

May 10, 7:49 AM
Key Trump White House aide set to resume testimony

Former Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout is set to resume her testimony this morning in former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial.

For prosecutors, Westerhout’s testimony yesterday offered a detailed picture of how Trump approached his personal finances while serving as president — including how he signed personal checks for his then-attorney Michael Cohen and others.

Defense attorneys, meanwhile, appeared to use Westerhout to highlight Trump’s character following hours of abrasive testimony from Stormy Daniels.

“He never once made me feel like I didn’t deserve that job and I didn’t belong there, especially in an office filled with older men,” Westerhout told jurors about working by Trump’s side for over two years. “He was a really good boss. I hope he respected me in my job, and I just found him very enjoyable to work for.”

Westerhout at one point broke down in tears on the witness stand while recounting to the jury how she lost her job after she shared private details of Trump’s family with reporters at an off-the-record dinner.

“That mistake, eventually — ultimately, cost me my job, and I am very regretful of my youthful indiscretion,” Westerhout said while crying.

May 09, 5:20 PM
‘We are so innocent,’ Trump says exiting courtroom

Judge Juan Merchan dismissed court for the day following the late hearing.

Trump, speaking to reporters on his way out of the courtroom, railed against the judge.

“Everybody saw what happened today — I don’t think we have to do any expert explaining,” Trump said. “I’m not allowed to anyway because this judge is corrupt,” he said, criticizing Merchan — who is not protected by the limited gag order in the case.

“I got to get back on the campaign trail. I’m not supposed to be here. We are so innocent,” Trump said.

-ABC News’ Kelsey Walsh and Mike Pappano

May 09, 5:04 PM
Judge, slamming defense, denies 2nd motion for mistrial

Merchan took defense attorney Susan Necheles to task for her failure to object to a line of inquiry about whether or not Donald Trump used a condom during his alleged encounter with Stormy Daniels.

“For the life of me, I don’t know why Ms. Necheles didn’t object,” the judge said.

Merchan emphasized that Daniels testimony was necessary because Trump’s lawyers continue to deny the encounter occurred.

“That pits your client’s words against Ms. Daniels’ word,” the judge said.

“These details add a sense of credibility if the jury chooses to believe them,” Merchan said. “Your motion for a mistrial is denied.”

May 09, 4:53 PM
State argues that Daniels’ testimony corroborated her account

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass heavily pushed back on defense attorney Todd Blanche’s motion for a mistrial based on Stormy Daniels’ detailed and explicit testimony.

“It has always been the people’s contention that the details in this case — details of the two-hour conversation that Ms. Daniels had with the defendant in the living room and the dinner room of his hotel room in Harrah’s — corroborate her account,” Steinglass said.

“They corroborate that the sex happened, which is motivation to silence her,” he said.

Steinglass argued that defense lawyers cannot attack Daniels’ credibility in their opening statement, then move for a mistrial after the state thoroughly questioned Daniels to develop her credibility with the jury.

“They’re trying to have their cake and eat it too,” Steinglass said.

Steinglass also argued that the condom testimony was permissible because Trump, according to Daniels, asked her a series of questions about protection and STDs in the adult film industry during their conversation in Trump’s suite.

“Mr. Trump asked a lot of questions about the testing in the adult film industry,” Steinglass said. “The reason that is relevant is because it explains his decision not to wear a condom.”

“You know who knew what happened in that room? Mr. Trump knew,” Steinglass said. “That was Mr. Trump’s motive to silence this woman in 2016.”

Trump has been sitting with his arms crossed, staring at Merchan, during the hearing.

May 09, 4:36 PM
Defense, seeking mistrial, says, ‘This is not a case about sex’

In the defense’s motion for a mistrial, defense attorney Todd Blanche argued that prosecutors went too far with their questions during Stormy Daniels’ direct examination.

“What proceeded to happen was a whole host of questions that went way beyond the mere fact that it happened,” Blanche said.

“It almost defies belief we are here about a records case,” Blanche said. “This is not a case about sex.”

“The nondisclosure agreement was entered. Whether it happened or not has nothing to do with the charges in this case,” he argued.

May 09, 4:29 PM
Judge, quoting Trump himself, declines to modify gag order

Judge Merchan, after hearing arguments from the defense, declined to modify the limited gag order so Trump could respond publicly to Stormy Daniels’ testimony.

“I don’t see what you’re referring to as a new set of facts,” the judge told the defense.

“My concern is not just with protecting Ms. Daniels or a witness who just testified,” the judge said. “My concern is protecting these proceedings as a whole.”

In making his ruling, Merchan quoted Trump’s words from an excerpt of Trump’s book that the jury saw today: “When you are wronged, go after those people because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it.”

The judge said that other witnesses would see how Trump treats Daniels if he modifies the gag order.

May 09, 4:21 PM
Defense seeks gag order exception so Trump can reply to Daniels

Judge Juan Merchand, preparing to hear the defense’s request to limit the expected testimony of Karen McDougle, who was paid by the National Enquirer to suppress her claim of a year-long affair with Trump, was told that the motion is no longer necessary.

“The people informed me they no longer intend to call Ms. McDougal,” defense attorney Tood Blanche said.

Blanche then argued to Judge Merchan that Trump should be able to respond to Stormy Daniels’ testimony, seeking to an exception to the limited gag order that prohibits Trump from targeting witnesses and jurors.

Blanche asked that Trump be “allowed to respond publicly to what happened in court the past day and a half.”

“He needs an opportunity to respond to the American people,” Blanche said.

Because Daniels is off the witness stand, Blanche argued that Trump’s comments about her testimony would not impact the proceedings.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Conroy opposed the request to loosen the gag order.

“It seems as if the other side lives in an almost alternate reality. There is a proceeding here that this order is designed to protect,” Conroy said, adding that the appropriate place to respond to testimony is in the courtroom.

“We have seen the fear in some of these witnesses,” Conroy added, citing Westerhout’s reaction when her personal information appeared on some exhibits. He added that a recent custodial witness had concerns for their safety.

According to Conroy, the fear was Trump’s “doing.”

Conroy argued that the gag order should protect witnesses before, during, and after their testimony.

May 09, 4:08 PM
Westerhout calls Trump’s relationship with Melania ‘special’

On cross-examination by defense attorney Susan Necheles, Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout sang Trump’s praises.

“You thought he was a great person to work for?” Necheles asked.

“Yes,” Westerhout said, telling jurors that Trump was a great president.

Westerhout previously testified that she found Trump’s relationship with his wife Melania Trump “special,” and described their dynamic in glowing terms.

“He was my boss, but she was definitely the one in charge,” she said. “I just remember thinking that their relationship was really special. They laughed a lot when she came into the Oval Office.”

Necheles sought to pull this thread, asking Westerhout about how they engaged with one another at the White House.

“There were times when I could tell [Trump] was on the phone with Mrs. Trump, and he would say ‘Honey … come to the window,’ and they would kind of wave to each other,” from the residence,” Westerhout said.

Westerhout then stepped off the stand so Judge Juan Merchan could hear the three motions the defense has asked to bring. The judge dismissed the jury in preparation for hearing the motions.

Westerhout’s testimony is scheduled to resume tomorrow.

May 09, 3:56 PM
Westerhout breaks down recalling her White House departure

“I am very regretful of my youthful indiscretion,” Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout said, explaining that she left the White House after sharing information with reporters at an off-the-record dinner.

Trump appeared to confer with Blanche as Westerhout began to cry.

Fighting back tears, Westerhout said she has “grown a lot since then.”

She spoke through tears and choked up as she told the jury about why she wrote her book about her time in the White House.

“I don’t think he was treated fairly and I wanted to tell that story,” Westerhout said of Trump.

May 09, 3:51 PM
‘Sorry, sir,’ Westerhout says, testifying about picture frame purchase

In June of 2017, Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout sent Trump Organization executive assistant Rhona Graff a photo and said then-President Trump wanted it framed.

“President Trump wanted to put in a frame to put behind his desk in the office,” Westerhout testified. “Behind the Resolute Desk there was a little credenza.”

Graff responded that she had no empty frames and offered to go to Tiffany & Co., next door to the Trump Tower, but she said the frames were “on the pricey side,” about $650.

“Does DJT want to spend that much?” Graff asked in the email.

“Is this the type of thing that Mr. Trump would want to weigh in on?” prosecutor Becky Mangold asked Westerhout.

“I don’t recall another instance like this,” said Westerhout, but she said this was a photo of Trump’s mother that he wanted it framed.

“We may have made the executive decision without his approval,” Westerhout said. She glanced toward Trump sitting at the defense table, and said, “Sorry, sir.”

May 09, 3:42 PM
Jurors see example of Trump approving personal expenses

Jurors saw an example of Donald Trump individually approving an expense. Prosecutors showed the jury a handwritten note on Trump’s bill for the Winged Foot Golf Club. The bill totaled approximately $7,000.

“PAY,” the note said. “ASAP OK.”

“Whose handwriting is that?” prosecutor Becky Mangold asked Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout.

“That’s the president’s,” Westerhout said, referring to Trump. “That looks to be a Sharpie or another felt tip pen.”

May 09, 3:39 PM
Westerhout testifies about Trump’s check signing process

Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout testified that Trump would sometimes receive a stack of checks to sign from the Trump Organization that was sometime “maybe half an inch thick.”

“It was consistent — maybe twice a month,” she said about the frequency of receiving a package of checks.

Asked about the number of checks in each package, Westerhout said, “Sometimes there was one. Sometimes there was a stack — maybe half an inch thick. I never counted them.”

From the times when Westerhout saw Trump signing checks, she recounted that Trump signed the checks individually using a felt-tip pen.

Once he was done signing, “He would give the folder back to me, and I would put it in a pre-labeled Fedex envelope and send it back to the Trump Organization.”

If Trump had a question about any of the checks, Westerhout said Trump would call then-CFO Allen Weisselberg.

May 09, 3:36 PM
Westerhout says she brought checks for Trump to sign

Prosecutor Becky Mangold asked Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout about a series of exhibits, including an email with Michael Cohen coordinating an in-person meeting with Donald Trump in February 2017, as well as correspondence with then-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

“I understood them to be close,” she said of Trump’s relationship with Weisselberg.

The conversation with Westerhout then turned to then-President Trump’s personal expenses.

“It’s my understanding they were handled by checks,” Westerhout said. “Checks were sent from the Trump Organization to an employee at the White House and I brought them in for the president to sign.”

At first, the checks were sent to Keith Schiller, “and then later they were sent to me,” Westerhout said.

“The checks came in a FedEx envelope. Inside was a manila folder with a stack of checks and I brought the manila folder into the president,” testified Westerhout, who said there were invoices attached to some of the checks.

May 09, 3:27 PM
Westerhout had list of people who got patched through to Trump

Prosecutors showed jurors a contact list for Trump that Trump Organization executive assistant Rhona Graff passed along to White House aide Madeleine Westerhout in 2017.

Among the names listed were Tom Brady, Bret Baier, Sean Hannity, Jerry Falwell, Bill O’Reilly, and Joe Scarborough.

Michael Cohen, David Pecker, and Allen Weisselberg were also included on the list.

Westerhout said the list included the names of people Trump spoke to often or might want to speak with.

Westerhout said if someone called the White House who was included on the list, she would try to patch them through to Trump directly.

May 09, 3:09 PM
Westerhout testifies that Trump didn’t use computer, email

Trump White House aide Madeleine Westerhout testified that Trump did not use email or a computer.

“What is Mr. Trump’s preferred method of communications?” prosecutor Becky Mangold asked.

“He liked speaking to people in person or over the phone,” Westerhout said.

“Did Mr. Trump use a computer?” Mangold asked.

“Not to my knowledge,” Westerhout said, adding Trump did not use email.

“He liked hard-copy documents,” Westerhout said.

Westerhout testified that Trump paid attention to details and signed things himself, preferably with a Sharpie.

“He preferred to sign things himself,” Westerhout said.

“Did he typically read things before signing them?” Mangold asked.

“Yes,” Westerhout said.

May 09, 3:05 PM
No one sat closer to Trump in White House, Westerhout says

Jurors saw a map of the West Wing of the White House to demonstrate where Madeline Westerhout’s desk was in relation to the Oval Office.

“That is the area known as the outer oval office — that is where the presidential secretaries or assistants sat,” Westerhout told the jurors, highlighting the location of her desk.

Westerhout said she sat near John McEntee, Hope Hicks, and Keith Schiller, but no one sat closer to Trump’s desk in the Oval Office than she did in the early days of the Trump administration.

“Who was the focus of your job?” prosecutor Becky Mangold asked.

“The president,” Westerhout responded.

May 09, 2:58 PM
Westerhout testifies about ‘Access Hollywood’ fallout

Before she worked in the White House, witness Madeleine Westerhout worked at the Republican National Committee.

On the stand, she testified about the aftermath of the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.

“It was a tape of Mr. Trump and Billy Bush,” she said. “At the time I recall it rattling RNC leadership.”

Prosecutor Becky Mangold asked, “Did the RNC consider replacing Mr. Trump as a candidate?”

Westerhout told the jury, “It’s my recollection there were conversations how it would be possible to replace him as the candidate if it came to that.”

Westerhout testified that after Trump won the election, she helped with the presidential transition.

She said she earned the nickname “Greeter Girl” in the media after she helped coordinate meetings at Trump Tower, appearing in videos and photos accompanying potential Trump appointees in the Trump Tower lobby.

May 09, 2:51 PM
Prosecutors call White House aide Madeline Westerhout

Prosecutors have called their next big witness: Madeline Westerhout, who was Trump’s director of Oval Office operations in the White House.

Westerhout was subpoenaed to testify.

Asked if she is nervous to testify, she responded, “I am now.” This is her first time in a courtroom, she said.

Trump leaned forward in her chair, watching her intently.

May 09, 2:46 PM
Jury hears quotes from Trump on his management approach

The prosecution has next called Tracy Menzies, a senior vice president at HarperCollins.

She is testifying about Donald Trump and Bill Zanker’s 2007 book, “Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life.”

Trump, at the defense table, tilted his head up at the large screen at the front of the courtroom and then leaned toward his monitor at the defense table as his image appeared on the cover jacket for the book.

Menzies testified about passages from the book, quoting Trump’s approach to business and people management.

“As a matter of fact, I value loyalty above everything else — more than brains, more than drive, more than energy,” Trump wrote in one portion of the book, read aloud by Menzies. Another portion of the book noted that loyalty has become “part of the corporate culture of the Trump Organization.”

“My motto is: Always get even. When somebody screws you, screw them back in spades,” read another quote.

“When you are wronged, go after those people because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it.”

Also: “Get the best people and don’t trust them.”

May 09, 2:29 PM
Defense highlights that Trump checks were for ‘personal bills’

Defense attorney Susan Necheles conducted a short cross-examination of Trump Organization Rebecca Manochio about her time at the Trump Organization.

“Is it a nice place to work?” Necheles asked.

“Yes,” Manochio said.

“You didn’t really interact with President Trump?” Necheles asked.

“No,” Manochio replied.

During her cross examination, Manochio also testified that then-CFO Allen Weisselberg rarely communicated with Trump once he took office.

“President Trump and Allen Weisselberg did not speak at all?” Susan Necheles asked.

“Correct,” Manochio responded.

Necheles attempted to highlight that the checks made out to Michael Cohen, that were sent to Trump for his signature, were sent to Trump’s bodyguard in Washington because they were for “personal bills” that needed to be quickly paid, and the White House delayed Trump’s personal mail.

“These were all personal bills that had to be paid promptly?” Necheles asked.

“Yes,” Manochio said.

May 09, 2:21 PM
Proceedings ready to resume for afternoon session

Donald Trump has returned to the courtroom following the lunch break.

Trump surveyed the gallery as he got to the defense counsel table.

Judge Merchan is back on the bench and Trump Organization bookkeeper Rebecca Manochio has taken her seat on the witness stand to resume her testimony.

May 09, 1:08 PM
Defense filing motion to dismiss, plus 2 other motions

Trump’s defense team, after Judge Juan Merchan dismissed the jury for a lunch break, informed the judge they have a renewed motion for a mistrial plus two additional motions.

In in addition to seeking a mistrial, the defense will asking to preclude Karen McDougal’s potential testimony, and seek to modify part of the limited gag order placed on Trump.

Merchan said he will break testimony early at 4 p.m. ET and handle the three motions then.

Before excusing the jury for the lunch break, Merchan announced that the trial is currently on or ahead of schedule.

May 09, 12:52 PM
Checks for Trump to sign were sent to bodyguard’s home

As questioning of the Trump Organization’s bookkeeper continued, Trump, sitting at the defense table, continued to appear to give instructions to his attorneys.

Trump wrote down a note on a yellow legal bad and passed it to attorney Susan Necheles, who read it and then looked up at Trump and nodded in agreement. She then went back to her own notepad and took down a note.

Bookkeeper Rebecca Manachio is testifying as a custodian of records for the Trump Organization, as prosecutors have entered into evidence a series of emails and Fedex records.

The jury sees FedEx invoices for checks Manachio says she sent to Washington for Trump to sign while he was president. They have seen two instances where Manachio mailed checks to the home of Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller, instead of directly to the White House.

Schiller also mailed the checks back, according to Manachio.

Asked who directed her to mail the checks to Schiller, Manachio said that either then-CFO Allen Weisselberg or Trump assistant Rhona Graff told her to do so.

May 09, 12:42 PM
Bookkeeper testifies she mailed checks for Trump to sign

For their next witness, prosectors have called Rebecca Manochio, a Trump Organization employee.

Manachio, on the stand, said she has worked for the Trump Organization for 11 years, including working as former CFO Allen Weissleberg’s assistant for eight years. She now works as a junior bookkeeper at the company.

She said that she is testifying pursuant to a subpoena. “I was compelled to testify,” she said.

Manochio testified she was the one who personally mailed the checks for Michael Cohen to Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., while he was president, for him to sign.

“How frequently did you have to FedEx checks to Mr. Trump?” she was asked.

“About once a week,” she responded.

“Deb would give me the checks in a manilla folder, and I would put them in a FedEx envelope with a return,” she testified.

Manachio said she would send Trump a bundle of checks weekly via Federal Express.

Asked about how many checks she sent at one time, she said, “Maybe between 10 and 20. I am not sure though.”

Manachio said she would normally receive the signed checks back within a few days.

“Did you always check to make sure they were signed once you got them back?,” she was asked.

“Yes,” she affirmed.

“Who’s signature was on them?” she was asked.

“Mr. Trump’s,” she said.

May 09, 12:32 PM
Stormy Daniels concludes testimony

During her redirect examination, Stormy Daniels suggested Trump targeted her in a Truth Social post.

“IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU,” Trump wrote in August 2023.

Daniels said that Trump made the post shortly after he sued her for legal fees in Florida.

“I wasn’t sure, but I thought it was me,” Daniels said about the subject of the post.

Prosecutors previously told Judge Merchan that they planned to introduce social media posts to demonstrate a pressure campaign by Trump against known witnesses in the case.

On recross examination, defense attorney Susan Necheles suggested that the post likely referenced Trump’s attitude toward a Republican political action committee, not Daniels’ conduct.

With her testimony complete, Daniels stepped off the witness stand.

May 09, 12:24 PM
Daniels says she’s been telling the truth about Trump

“Have you been telling lies about Mr. Trump or the truth about Mr. Trump?” prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked Stormy Daniels.

Daniels answered, “The truth,” and she said it has cost her.

“I’ve had to hire security, take extra precautions for my daughter, move my daughter to a safe place to live, move a couple times,” she said.

Hoffinger concluded her redirect examination with this question: “On balance, has your publicly telling the truth about your experiences with Mr. Trump been net positive, or net negative?”

“Negative,” Daniels answered.

May 09, 12:19 PM
Prosecutors display social posts disparaging Daniels

Prosecutors showed the jury disparaging tweets posted about Daniels, including one that said, “Good luck walking down the street after this.”

“Are these two tweets examples of some of the tweets that you have received … in relation to things you have said publicly about Mr. Trump?,” Hoffinger asked.

“Yes. These are tame actually,” Daniels responded.

May 09, 12:15 PM
Daniels addresses questions from cross-examination

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked Daniels about some of the topics from Daniels’ cross-examination.

Daniels, under questioning, said that her 2011 InTouch magazine interview – which defense attorney Susan Necheles used to highlight some inconsistencies in Daniels’ story about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump — was edited by the publication.

Hoffinger also asked Daniels about her interview with “60 Minutes.”

“You didn’t tell every single detail to Anderson Cooper, did you?” Hoffinger asked.

“No,” Daniels responded.

May 09, 12:06 PM
Prosecutors begin Daniels’ redirect examination

Following the conclusion of defense attorney Susan Necheles’ cross-examination of Stormy Daniels, prosecutor Susan Hoffinger returned to the lectern for her redirect examination.

Hoffinger began her questions by asking Daniels to clarify why she wanted to go public with her allegations in 2016.

“You are safer hiding in plain sight,” Daniels said. “Something won’t happen to you if everyone is looking at you.”

May 09, 11:59 AM
Defense seeks to distance Trump from nondisclosure

In her cross-examination of Stormy Daniels, defense attorney Susan Necheles sought to distance Donald Trump from the nondisclosure agreement Daniels signed.

“You have no personal knowledge of his involvement in that [agreement] and what he did and didn’t do?” Necheles asked.

“Not directly,” Daniels said.

Necheles also emphasized that Daniels had nothing to do with the crux of the case, which is how the payment to her was labeled on Trump’s business records.

“And you know nothing about Trump’s business records, right?” Necheles asked.

“I know nothing about his business records, no.” Daniels responded. “Why would I?”

Daniels seemed to suggest she wasn’t entirely clear on the substance of the charges against Trump in this case — leading to a jab against the former president.

“You have no knowledge of what he’s indicted for?” Necheles asked.

“There are a lot of indictments,” Daniels responded.

The judge declined to strike that statement.

May 09, 11:51 AM
Daniels returns to the stand following break

Trump reentered the courtroom after the break and returned to the defense table. Before he sat, he turned around to scan the room.

Defense attorney Susan Necheles entered in front of him, smiling.

Trump then conferred with Necheles at the defense table, whispering into her ear as she nodded in agreement.

As Daniels walked by him to the witness stand, he turned to his left to confer with attorney Todd Blanche, facing away from her.

May 09, 11:35 AM
Trump gives fist-pump to reporters

Former President Trump gave a fist-pump as he exited the courtroom for the mid-morning break.

He did not address reporters on his way out .

May 09, 11:26 AM
‘It hasn’t changed,’ Daniels says of her story

Defense attorney Susan Necheles is continuing to try to find inconsistencies in the stories Daniels has previously told about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, but Daniels, on the stand, has remained steadfast.

“Your story has completely changed, hasn’t it?” Necheles asked her at one point.

“No!” Daniels shouted into the microphone. “Not at all. You are trying to make me say that it changed, but it hasn’t changed.”

Several jurors, watching the exchange, looked like they were watching a tennis match, with their heads and eyes shifting back and forth.

The judge subsequently called for the mid-morning break.

As Necheles returned to the defense table, Trump gave her a pat on the waist, seemingly in approval. She nodded back to him.

Daniels smiled at prosecutors as she left the stand.

May 09, 11:14 AM
Defense questions Daniels about feeling lightheaded

In Susan Necheles’ first sustained effort to call into question Stormy Daniels’ story of the alleged sexual encounter, which her client has steadfastly denied for years, the defense attorney turned to the details of what happened when Daniels says she exited the bathroom of Trump’s suite and saw Trump in his underwear.

Necheles attempted to cast doubt on Daniels’ account of feeling light-headed — highlighting her experience working with naked men in the adult film industry.

“But according to you, seeing a man on a bed in a T-shirt and boxer shorts was so upsetting that you got light-headed, the blood left your hands and feet, and you almost fainted?” Necheles asked.

Daniels responded by highlighting Trump’s age, telling jurors she did not expect to find Trump undressed, and emphasizing the power imbalance in the room.

May 09, 11:05 AM
Defense asks Daniels if she and Trump ate dinner

Defense attorney Susan Necheles pressed Daniels on whether she and Trump had dinner during their time in his suite.

According to Necheles, Daniels told InTouch magazine in 2011 and Anderson Cooper in 2018 that she “had dinner” with Trump.

During Daniels’ testimony on Tuesday, Daniels said she never ate food during the interaction with Trump.

“I maintain that I didn’t see any food,” Daniels said today. “My story is the same … it was dinner, but we never got any food.”

Daniels alleged that Necheles was cherry-picking her past statements to falsely suggest her testimony was inconsistent.

“You are showing me one sentence of an entire conservation,” Daniels told Necheles.

“Your words don’t mean what you say, do they?” Necheles said.

Daniels’ posture during this exchange belied her confrontational tone with Necheles. She reclined in her seat, leaning slightly on her right elbow in a relaxed way. Her body was oriented toward the jury even as her face and eyes were turned to Necheles, periodically using hand gestures to emphasize a point.

Trump, meanwhile, remained sitting back in his chair, listening to much of Daniels’ testimony with his eyes closed.

May 09, 10:56 AM
Defense presses Daniels on details of her story

Defense attorney Susan Necheles turned her focus to the alleged sexual encounter between Trump and Stormy Daniels in 2006.

Necheles recounted the details of the golf tournament where Daniels said she and Trump met in Lake Tahoe, California, asking Daniels to confirm each part of the story.

Necheles homed in on an apparent inconsistency between Daniels’ testimony on Tuesday and her description of the encounter to InTouch magazine in 2011.

“This is a totally different story than you told in 2011?” Necheles said.

“No,” Daniels responded.

According to Necheles, Daniels told InTouch that Trump kept looking at her when they first met on the golf course and that he offered to take her out to dinner.

On Tuesday, Daniels testified that her interaction with Trump on the course was brief and said that Trump’s bodyguard extended the dinner invite on behalf of Trump.
 

May 09, 10:48 AM
Defense suggests Daniels has experience with ‘phony stories’

Jurors saw photos of some of the merchandise Stormy Daniels sells on her online store, including T-shirts, comic books and a “Stormy Saint of Indictments candle.”

Defense attorney Susan Necheles used the line of questioning to again suggest that Daniels makes a “large part of her livelihood” by selling the story about her alleged affair with Trump.

Necheles suggested Daniels is well-practiced in making up stories about sex, pointing to her career in adult films.

“You have a lot of experience of making phony stories about sex appear to be real?” Necheles asked.

“The sex in the films is very real, just like what happened to me in that room,” Daniels responded, adding that if she were to fictionalize her encounter with Trump, she “would have written it to be a lot better.”

Trump attorney Todd Blanche let out a chuckle at one point when Daniels, in referring to the sex in adult films, said, “I think we all know how to do that.”
 

May 09, 10:44 AM
Defense questions Daniels about her recent social posts

“Isn’t it a fact that you keep posting on social media that you would be instrumental in putting President Trump in jail?” defense attorney Susan Necheles asked Stormy Daniels.

“Show me where I say I would be instrumental in putting President Trump in jail,” Daniels replied.

Necheles displayed for the court a social media post Daniels made responding to a message calling her a “TOILET,” that read: “”Exactly! Making me the best person to flush the orange turn down.”

“I don’t see the word ‘instrumental’ or ‘jail,'” Daniels said. “You’re putting words in my mouth.”

Daniels explained the joke, citing the reference to a “toilet” as her predicate for using the “orange turd” expression: “See how that works?”

Asked what she meant by “orange turd,” Daniels said: “I don’t know what I meant … I’m also not a toilet.”

Trump, at the defense table, put his elbows back on the table and leaned into the monitor in front of him as it displayed another post in which Daniels says she celebrated his indictment.

“You are drinking champagne because you are celebrating that Trump was indicted?” Nechelss asked Daniels.

“Yes,” Daniels responded.

Trump visibly shook his head no.

May 09, 10:38 AM
Testimony turns combative as Daniels is pressed on social posts

Defense attorney Susan Necheles turned the topic of her cross-examination to Stormy Daniels’ recent social media posts related to the trial.

Jurors saw a March 2024 post on X where Daniels said she was the “best person to flush the orange turd down.”

Pressed by Necheles, Daniels initially refused to confirm if she was referring to Donald Trump in that post.

The questioning turned combative and Daniels appeared to get defensive.

“If they want to make fun of me, I can make fun of them,” Daniels said.

Daniels later relented, telling Necheles that she referenced Trump in the tweet.

“I absolutely meant Donald Trump,” Daniels admitted.

May 09, 10:32 AM
Defense suggests Daniels profited off the publicity

Prosecutors sought to paint Stormy Daniels as someone who profited off the publicity she generated from her alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump — pressing her on a CNN interview, a book deal, a strip tour using a pun on Trump’s infamous political slogan, a reality TV show.

Defense attorney Susan Necheles said the encounter “generated a ton of publicity” for Daniels.

“Lots of bad publicity,” Daniels retorted.

“The centerpiece of your book is your story about supposedly having sex with President Trump?” Necheles asked.

“No,” she said, before acknowledging, “Sadly, I thought it was what people would turn to first.”

May 09, 10:28 AM
Daniels asked about ‘Make America Horny Again’ tour

Defense attorney Susan Necheles asked Daniels about a tour of clubs she did in 2018, which one club dubbed the “Make America Horny Again” tour.

“I did not name that tour and I fought it tooth and nail,” Daniels said. “I never used that headline — I hated it.”

Daniels pushed back against Necheles suggesting that she marketed the tour by stoking animosity towards Trump. In her book, she noted how the crowds at the tour included supportive fans who opposed Trump’s presidency.

“The climate in the clubs absolutely changed, but I was not selling myself to a particular demographic,” Daniels said. “I just did the same job I always did.”

In the courtroom, attorneys displayed an advertisement for the tour. Trump had been sitting back in his chair before the advertisement was displayed, eyes seemingly closed, but he leaned forward and stared into the monitor when it was displayed.

May 09, 10:23 AM
Defense presses Daniels on 2018 denial

Defense attorney Susan Necheles tried to distance Donald Trump from efforts to hide the Stormy Daniels story from voters by highlighting the efforts to keep it hidden in 2018.

“And he wanted you to deny it, correct?” Necheles asked about Trump in 2018.

“Yes,” Daniels said.

“And he wasn’t running for election in 2018?” Necheles asked.

“No,” Daniels said.

“He was concerned about his family, correct?” Necheles asked.

“I was never mentioned anything about his family,” Daniels responded.

“But there was nothing about his election going on then?” Necheles asked.

“No,” Daniels said.

“And you understand President Trump has a brand?” Necheles followed up.

“Yes,” Daniels responded.

May 09, 10:17 AM
Defense asks Daniels about her 2018 denial

Defense attorney Susan Necheles asked Stormy Daniels about her January 2018 denial of the sexual encounter with Trump, showing her the statement she signed that has been prepared by her then-attorney.

“To be clear, I did not write this statement,” Daniels said. “I was told I had to sign it.”

“I signed it, but I did not write it,” Daniels continued. “It was given to me and I was told I had to sign it.”

Necheles then asked Daniels a series of questions about legal language in her nondisclosure agreement.

Jurors appeared to remain engaged — but not to the extent that they were previously, when the testimony was more riveting.

One juror was sipping a glass of water, another was rubbing his eyes. Most were still jotting down notes or looking toward the witness stand.

May 09, 10:08 AM
Daniels says lawyer on call referenced someone else

Stormy Daniels testified that she didn’t recall the conversation her then-attorney Davidson referenced in the secretly recorded phone call the jury just heard.

She added that Davidson referenced what someone else — her agent Gina Rodriguez’s boyfriend — might say about the call, not her recollection of it.

“I never yelled at Keith Davidson over the phone,” Daniels said. “It sounds like a threat from Keith Davidson.”

May 09, 10:01 AM
Jurors hear secretly recorded call between Daniels’ attorney and Cohen

Jurors heard a surreptitiously recorded phone call between then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels’ then-attorney, Keith Davidson.

“I just didn’t want you to get caught off guard, and I wanted to let you know what was going on behind the scenes,” Davidson says on the recording. “And I would not be the least bit surprised if, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if you see in the next couple of days that Gina Rodriguez’s boyfriend goes out in the media and tells the story that Stormy Daniels, you know, in the weeks prior to the election was basically yelling and screaming, and calling me a p—-.”

“Can I, can I ask you a question? Right,” says Cohen.

“No, hold on one second,” says Davidson. “I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he comes out and says, you know what, Stormy Daniels, she wanted this money more than you can ever imagine. I remember hearing her on the phone saying, you f—— Keith Davidson. You better settle this goddamn story. Because if he loses this election, and he’s going to lose, if he loses this election we lose all f—— leverage this case is worth zero. And if that happens, I’m going to sue you because you lost this opportunity. So settle this f—— case. That’s a far cry, that’s a far cry from far cry from being, you know, bullied and pushed into settling a case.”

Trump, sitting at the defense table, appeared highly pleased with this testimony — he hunched forward over the table in leaned into the monitor on his table that displayed the transcript of the call, firmly nodding is head yes in agreement repeatedly when the tape said “we lose all f—— leverage.”

Trump then looked directly at the witness stand when Daniels responded to the tape, saying she never yelled at Davison.

May 09, 9:52 AM
Daniels said she wanted a ‘paper trail’

Stormy Daniels told defense attorney Necheles that despite the nondisclosure agreement effectively killing her story, the deal resulted in a “paper trail” that made her feel safe.

“I wanted the truth to be printed with some paper trail,” Daniels said. “With a target on my back on my family’s — it was the perfect solution.”

Necheles, who suggested on Tuesday that Daniels had been attempting to extort Trump, then resumed those efforts.

“You were threatening that you would try to hurt Trump politically if he didn’t give you money?” Necheles said.

“False,” Daniels retorted.

May 09, 9:48 AM
Daniels says she chose nondisclosure for her safety

Defense attorney Susan Necheles resumed her cross-examination of Stormy Daniels by focusing on Daniels’ motivation for selling her story ahead of the 2016 election.

Daniels previously testified that she wanted to get her story out but was afraid for her safety, so she opted instead to sign the nondisclosure with Trump and receive $130,000.

Pressed on the topic, Daniels said she initially wanted to get her story out.

“I was asking to sell my story to publications to get the truth out,” Daniels. “I wanted to do a press conference.”

Daniels added that she thought she was “running out of time” to get the story out.

“You were running out of time to get money?” Necheles asked.

“No, to get the story out,” Daniels responded.

Daniels said she opted to sign a nondisclosure agreement to prioritize her safety.

“I choose to be safe,” Daniels said.

“You choose to make money, right?” Necheles said.

“I choose to take a nondisclosure,” Daniels replied.

May 09, 9:40 AM
Stormy Daniels retakes the stand

“Good morning, Mr. Trump,” Judge Merchan said as he opened the day’s proceedings.

The judge began the morning by precluding defense lawyers from questioning Daniels about a past arrest that never resulted in a conviction.

“Anybody can be arrested,” Merchan said. “That does not prove a thing.”

Stormy Daniels entered the courtroom and took her seat on the witness stand for the defense to resume its cross-examination. Judge Merchan reminded her that she is still under oath.

Trump appeared to glance at her as she passed his counsel table.

May 09, 9:32 AM
Court is back in session

Judge Juan Merchan has taken the bench and court is back in session for Day 14 of Donald Trump’s criminal trial.

Defense attorney Susan Necheles is sitting on Trump’s right at the defense table, Todd Blanche is to his immediate left, and Emil Bove occupies the seat over.

A packed row of Trump’s supporters, including Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, occupy the first row of the gallery directly behind Trump.

May 09, 9:28 AM
Trump enters courtroom

Former President Donald Trump has entered the courtroom.

As he made his way down the isle to his seat at the defense table, a man seated on the right side of the court room stood up — something that is not allowed — and gave Trump a thumbs-up as he passed.

May 09, 9:20 AM
Prosecutors arrive in courtroom

Prosecutors have entered the courtroom.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was not with them when they came in.

May 09, 9:15 AM
Five members of public are in court after waiting overnight

Members of the public lined up as early as 12:30 a.m. to get a spot in the courtroom to see Stormy Daniels’ testimony this morning.

Two friends who live in Brooklyn, who identified themselves as Shmuel and Levi, said their first attempt to watch the trial from the courtroom on Tuesday failed. They said they arrived at 3:30 a.m. but could only secure a spot in the overflow room, so they changed their approach this morning.

“We went back home last night … and decided to come at like 12:30 a.m.,” Shmuel told ABC News. “We figured that it would be safe.”

Both said they stayed awake while waiting overnight and appreciated the weather cooperating.

“It was really a beautiful night,” Levi said.

A total of five members of the public made it into the courtroom this morning.

May 09, 8:18 AM
Stormy Daniels arrives at courthouse

Stormy Daniels has arrived at the lower Manhattan courthouse ahead of her second day of testimony.

Proceedings are scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. ET.

May 09, 7:54 AM
Judge said defense’s concerns can be address on cross

On Stormy Daniels’ first day on the stand on Tuesday, her graphic testimony about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump — which Trump denies took place — prompted attorneys for the defense to seek a mistrial.

Daniels told the jury about noticing an “imbalance of power” with Trump, how she was “blacking out” and found herself nearly naked on the bed of Trump’s hotel suite, and how the two engaged in unprotected sex.

Defense attorneys for Trump argued that the testimony did enough damage to merit tossing the trial entirely on the grounds that it was prejudicial in the eyes of the jury.

Judge Juan Merchan denied the bid, saying the defense will have its say during their cross-examination — which began Tuesday and is scheduled to continue today.

May 09, 7:33 AM
Stormy Daniels to return to the witness stand

Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress whose allegations of a 2006 sexual encounter with Donald Trump prompted the hush money payment that lies at the center of the Manhattan DA’s criminal case against Trump, is scheduled to return to the witness stand this morning.

On Daniels’ first day on the stand on Tuesday, she testified that first met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California, and that he invited her to his hotel suite. Daniels told the jury that when she came out of the bathroom, she found Trump on the bed dressed in only his underwear and a T-shirt.

“The next thing I know, I was on the bed,” said Daniels, who then described how they had sex. Trump has denied that the two ever had a sexual encounter.

Daniels told jurors that she became afraid to go public with her story of the encounter after she was threatened by an unknown man in a Las Vegas parking lot in June 2011. She said that the 2016 offer from then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen to buy her silence for $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 election allowed her to keep the allegations private while profiting from the deal.

“They were interested in paying for the story, which was the best thing that could happen because then my husband wouldn’t find out, but there was still documentation of a money exchange and a paperwork exchange, so that I would be safe and the story wouldn’t come out,” Daniels said.

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