Contempt Fines and Hush-Money Details: 5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trial

The third week of the criminal trial of Donald J. Trump began with a rebuke: The judge, Juan M. Merchan, held the former president in contempt and fined him $9,000 for repeatedly violating a gag order. He also threatened jail time if the violations continue.

That decision on Tuesday, triggered by Mr. Trump’s comments on social media about witnesses and others, preceded riveting testimony from a lawyer who had arranged a $130,000 hush-money payment to conceal a tryst between Mr. Trump and a porn star, Stormy Daniels, a sum paid weeks before the 2016 election.

The lawyer, Keith Davidson, also described an earlier deal to buy the silence of another woman, Karen McDougal, who said she’d had a longer-term affair with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, 77, is charged with falsifying 34 business records to hide the payment to Ms. Daniels. He has denied the felony charges, and having had sex with Ms. Daniels and Ms. McDougal. He could face probation or prison if convicted.

Here are takeaways from the ninth day of Mr. Trump’s trial, the first prosecution of an American president:

A lawyer recounts two stories and two deals to bury them.

Mr. Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer, described in painstaking detail the pressured negotiations to pay off Ms. McDougal in summer 2016, which played out in text messages with Dylan Howard, an editor at The National Enquirer. The tabloid had agreed to buy negative stories about Mr. Trump and then bury them.

Ms. McDougal was eventually paid $150,000 and promised other perks, a deal hashed out in sometimes jocular terms.

The Links Between Trump and 3 Hush-Money Deals

Here’s how key figures involved in making hush-money payoffs on behalf of Donald J. Trump are connected.

Back to top button