Jurors can hear about a meeting that prosecutors say was hosted by Trump

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Read previewIn a blow to former President Donald Trump’s prospects in his upcoming Manhattan felony trial, the judge ruled Monday that jurors can hear about a Trump Tower meeting where prosecutors say Trump was physically present as hush money was discussed.
News of the August 2015 meeting and Trump’s involvement was first revealed in November 2018 by The Wall Street Journal.
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Federal prosecutors in Manhattan alleged the meeting was evidence of a criminal end-run around campaign finance regulations, CNN reported.
Trump’s side had fought to exclude any mention of the hush-money huddle from the trial, which is on track to start in mid-April.
AdvertisementIn still more bad news for Trump, the judge also ruled Monday that two women who alleged they had sexual encounters with Trump — adult film actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — can testify at the trial.
So can Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, who in 2018 pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for making the Daniels hush-money payment — on Trump’s behalf, he alleged.
Trump’s lawyers had fought to exclude all three from the trial.
Trump has denied having a sexual relationship with either Daniels or McDougal.
AdvertisementThe Trump Tower meeting was attended by Trump, Cohen, and David Pecker, then chairman of American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, according to Monday’s ruling by state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, the judge who will preside over the trial.
State prosecutors allege Trump falsified business records to hide an illegal $130,000 payment that silenced Daniels just 11 days before he won the presidency.
The Trump Tower meeting is key to understanding that allegation, Merchan wrote.
Related storiesThe meeting is “inextricably woven with the narrative of events, that is, the steps that eventually led to the purchasing of information from, among others, Daniels,” the judge wrote.
Merchan’s decision is significant.
Testimony and evidence linking the former president directly to strategy sessions over hush money payments to Daniels and other Trump accusers will make it harder for the defense to minimize his involvement in the payments.
AdvertisementTrump’s lawyers have said he relied on legal advice and had no intention of violating campaign finance laws, as prosecutors allege.
The ruling is also significant in that it expands the boundaries of testimony for Cohen and Pecker, two former Trump confidantes who are now poised to do serious damage as prosecution witnesses.
Under Monday’s ruling, both may now debut on the witness stand their firsthand accounts of how the National Enquirer attempted to place its thumb on the scales to help Trump in the 2016 election.
Prosecutors allege the 2015 Trump Tower meeting involved discussions of how the supermarket tabloid could publish flattering stories about Trump and negative stories about his opponents, the judge wrote.
Advertisement”The Court grants the People’s motion with respect to the introduction of evidence surrounding the Trump Tower Meeting,” he wrote.
“The highly probative value of this evidence is not outweighed by any potential undue prejudice to the Defendant,” the judge continued.
“As such, the evidence the People seek to introduce regarding this meeting is admissible provided a proper foundation is laid and it meets evidentiary standards.”
The judge wrote that he was reserving a decision on “the aspect of the Trump Tower meeting that involves the allegations that AMI sought to publish flattering stories about the Defendant while seeking to publish denigrating stories about his opponents.”
AdvertisementProsecutors will have to show that such “flattering stories” evidence has a probative value that outweighs its prejudicial effect, the judge wrote.
Also, in Monday’s ruling, the judge rejected Trump’s request that prosecutors make no mention of Trump’s role in influencing the 2016 election or of the National Enquirer’s “catch and kill” practices.
Jurors will not see the “Access Hollywood” tape, but prosecutors can make reference to the tape and its alleged role in motivating Trump to purchase Daniels’ silence, the judge also ruled.

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A blow to the prospects of the former president Donald Trump’s upcoming Manhattan felony trial is the judge’s decision on Monday to allow jurors to hear about a meeting at Trump Tower where prosecutors claim Trump was physically present when the topic of hush money was discussed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported in November 2018 on the August 2015 meeting and Trump’s involvement.

Only Business Insider subscribers can access this story. Start reading now to become an Insider.

CNN reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan claimed the meeting was proof of a criminal evasion of campaign finance laws.

The trial is scheduled to begin in mid-April, and Trump’s legal team had fought to keep any reference to the hush-money scrum out of the proceedings.

Promotion.

Even worse news for Trump, the judge decided on Monday to allow adult film actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, two women who claimed to have had sex with Trump, to testify during the trial.

Michael Cohen, the former lawyer for Trump, admitted to campaign finance violations in 2018 after paying the Daniels hush money, claiming to be acting on Trump’s behalf.

Trump’s attorneys had battled to keep all three out of the trial.

Trump has refuted reports that he had sex with Daniels or McDougal.

Promoting something.

Trump, Cohen, and David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc. at the time, were present at the meeting at Trump Tower. the parent company of the National Enquirer, as per the decision made on Monday by Justice Juan Merchan of the state Supreme Court, who will oversee the trial.

According to state prosecutors, Trump fabricated business documents to conceal an unauthorized $130,000 payment that Daniels received, just 11 days prior to his election as president. Understanding that allegation requires knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting, according to Merchan.

connected narratives.

The judge wrote that the meeting is “inextricably woven with the narrative of events, that is, the steps that eventually led to the purchasing of information from, among others, Daniels.”.

Merchan’s choice is important. It will be more difficult for the defense to downplay the former president’s role in the payments if testimony and evidence are presented that directly links him to strategy sessions regarding hush money payments to Daniels and other Trump accusers.

promotion.

Prosecutors claim that Trump broke campaign finance laws, but his attorneys maintain that he followed legal advice and didn’t intend to do so.

Expanding the parameters of Cohen and Pecker’s testimony—two former Trump confidantes who could cause serious harm as prosecution witnesses—is another noteworthy aspect of the ruling.

As a result of the decision on Monday, both may now present their first-hand testimonies of how the National Enquirer tried to tip the odds in favor of Trump during the 2016 election to the jury.

The judge wrote that the prosecution claimed that during the 2015 Trump Tower meeting, there were talks about how the supermarket tabloid could run positive stories about Trump and negative stories about his rivals.

Promoting something.

He wrote, “The People’s motion regarding the introduction of evidence regarding the Trump Tower Meeting is granted by the Court.”.

The judge went on, “Any potential undue prejudice to the Defendant is not outweighed by the highly probative value of this evidence.”.

As a result, as long as the right framework is established and the material satisfies evidentiary requirements, the evidence that the People wish to present regarding this meeting is admissible. “.”.

Regarding “the aspect of the Trump Tower meeting that involves the allegations that AMI sought to publish flattering stories about the Defendant while seeking to publish denigrating stories about his opponents,” the judge wrote that he was delaying making a decision. “.

Promoting something.

The judge stated that prosecutors would have to demonstrate that the evidence of “flattering stories” has a probative value greater than its detrimental impact.

In addition, the judge denied Trump’s request that the prosecutors not discuss the National Enquirer’s “catch and kill” tactics or his involvement in influencing the 2016 election in Monday’s decision.

The “Access Hollywood” tape will not be shown to the jury, but the judge also allowed the prosecution to bring up the tape and its supposed influence on Trump’s decision to buy Daniels’ silence.

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