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As Trump verdict looms, hush money jury revisits crucial “catch and kill” meeting at Trump Tower

Josephine Stratman and Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — The possibility of a verdict against Donald Trump loomed Thursday as the jury in the former president’s historic hush money trial returned to a Manhattan courthouse, hearing a readback of testimony about the 2015 meeting at Trump Tower and the infamous “catch and kill” scheme that lies at the heart of the state’s case.

The testimony, from the first and last witnesses to testify against Trump, included the August 2015 meeting where Trump, David Pecker and Michael Cohen allegedly agreed to carry out the “catch and kill” scheme to suppress negative stories about Trump in the lead up to the 2016 election.

“I was going to be the eyes and ears of the campaign,” Pecker testified last month.

They also heard testimony regarding what Pecker said was a phone call from Trump in June 2016 about former Playboy model Karen McDougal and media interest in her allegations of their months-long affair.

Two court stereographers read back important sections of testimony at the request of jurors, who had asked for the refresher on Wednesday.

Jurors took copious notes during the readback of Pecker’s direct examination concerning the Trump call. One man reacted with an amused smile when the stenographers said they were moving onto Pecker’s cross-examination, which the panel took fewer notes on.

 

After the readback wrapped, jurors went back to resume deliberations.

Smaller entourage

Trump walked into court Thursday at 9:25 a.m. with a smaller entourage than he’s had over the last weeks, including his son, Eric Trump, and various lawyers and associates. Trump stood by the courtroom well chatting with a Secret Service agent and his legal spokeswoman Alina Habba before taking his seat at the defense table.

He slammed the case to reporters in the hallway, saying “this is a very sad day for America.”

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