Grand jury hearing Trump 'hush money' payment to Stormy Daniels reconvenes for more testimony as possible indictment looms
Published in News & Features
NEW YORK — The Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence on Donald Trump’s “hush money” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels returned to court Monday for more witness testimony as anticipation continued to build over a possible indictment against the former president.
The grand jury, which usually starts hearing evidence at 2 p.m., was in the building by 1 p.m., a law enforcement source told the New York Daily News. A few hours later, former National Enquirer Publisher David Pecker was spotted leaving the downtown office in a car via a back exit.
The former president and CEO of American Media Inc., the supermarket tabloid’s parent company, is a central player in the hush money scheme. The deal with Daniels was born out of her approaching the Enquirer with her story in October 2016, according to Michael Cohen’s 2018 federal case.
Years prior, Pecker had devised an agreement with Trump and his then-fixer Cohen to “catch and kill” negative Trump stories so they’d never see the light of day.
Pecker received immunity in Cohen’s federal case, ending with the fixer’s conviction and imprisonment.
In August 2016, American Media Inc. made a deal with with Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, agreeing to pay her $150,000 “at Cohen’s urging” for the “limited life rights” to her story, according to the federal case.
Pecker’s appearance at the district attorney's office Monday was reportedly the second time he testified before the grand jury. His lawyer did not immediately return the Daily News’ calls seeking confirmation.
Grand jurors went home after hearing from Pecker and are scheduled to return on Wednesday, two sources told the Daily News.
It was unclear whether prosecutors intended to call more witnesses after Pecker or if they were planning to soon ask the panel to vote on an indictment against Trump. The investigative grand jury typically sits Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The DA’s office has declined to confirm details about the secret proceedings or the pace at which they are moving.
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