May 30, 2024

Trump trial live updates: Judge to consider gag order violations before first witness returns to stand

Donald Trump rants before entering court for hush money trial

Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial is now well underway with the prosecution and defence teams having presented their opening statements on Monday.

Tabloid media mogul David Pecker, who published The National Enquirer and was part of the “catch-and-kill” scheme at the heart of the case, also began giving testimony and will return to the witness stand on Tuesday.

Judge Juan Merchan will also rule today on complaints raised by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s team about numerous instances of Mr Trump allegedly violating the terms of his gag order by posting bitterly about the case and its key participants on his Truth Social platform.

The defendant continued to whine on social media on Monday evening, calling Mr Bragg “an election denier” as he otherwise looked ahead to the Supreme Court’s hearding on his presidential immunity defence against prosecution, which will take place on Thursday.

Elsewhere on the legal front, an agreement has been reached over Mr Trump’s $175m bond to appeal the civil fraud trial ruling against him and witness statements in the classified documents case have been made public.

Alex Woodward is providing live updates from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan throughout the trial.


New York hush money trial: What to expect on day six

Dear lord, the great Alex Woodward is already back at court early once again – having presumably pitched his alarm clock violently against a wall – and here brings us a rundown of what we can expect on day six:

“We’ll start today with a hearing on prosecutors’ request that the judge hold Trump in contempt and fine him for at least seven violations of the gag order.

“The latest motion includes seven different violations. Trump likely added to the list with his outbursts outside the courtroom yesterday:

“Last week, Manhattan prosecutors also alerted the judge to Trump’s ‘disturbing’ Truth Social post quoting Fox News personality Jesse Watters that appeared to attack jurors, which appeared on the former president’s platform just one day after the judge warned him against intimidating jurors.

“‘It’s ridiculous, and it has to stop,’ assistant district attorney Christopher Conroy told the judge on Thursday.

“Prosecutors also declined to give a list of witnesses to the defence in advance, fearing that Trump would publicly attack them before they took the stand.

“‘Mr Trump has been tweeting about the witnesses,’ assistant district attorney Joshua Steinglass told Judge Juan Merchan on Thursday. ‘We’re not telling him who the witnesses are.’

“Prosecutors ultimately agreed to give Trump’s attorneys one name, on Sunday afternoon, the day before the trial resumed. That name was former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, who will resume testimony later today.

“The gag order hearing is at 9.30am. Jurors are expected back in court to continue hearing testimony at 11am. The court will adjourn in observance of Passover at 2pm.”

Joe Sommerlad23 April 2024 11:00


New York fraud case: Trump lawyer fumes hearing ‘wasted time and money’ after bond deal reached

After weeks of back-and-forth between Trump’s legal team and the New York Attorney General’s Office over the $175m bond in his civil fraud ruling, the two sides have now agreed to allow the bond to be backed by a California-based company so long as the collateral remains in cash, among other stipulations.

On Monday, attorneys for Trump, including Alina Habba, and lawyers for Letitia James’s office met for a court hearing on the bond dispute, approximately 500 feet from the Manhattan courtroom where opening arguments began in Trump’s first criminal trial.

Following the hearing, Habba fumed that it was “wasted time” and a waste of taxpayer dollars as she accused James of lodging unnecessary complaints about the bond and tried to draw comparisons with his criminal case.

Joe Sommerlad23 April 2024 10:45


New York hush money trial: Prosecutors can confront Trump about defamation and fraud if he testifies

Manhattan prosecutors can question Trump about a blockbuster fraud ruling, gag order violations and the E Jean Carroll defamation verdicts if he chooses to testify in his hush money trial.

Before opening arguments on Monday morning, New York justice Juan Merchan largely granted a request from the office of DA Bragg to introduce lines of questioning around prior court rulings if the former president takes the stand to testify in his historic trial.

Under cross-examination, prosecutors can now bring up Trump’s other cases where he was found liable for fraud and defamation.

Joe Sommerlad23 April 2024 10:15


New York hush money trial: Key takeaways from Monday’s opening statements

It’s the case that many thought might never make it to trial and yet, at 9.30am on Monday 22 April 2024, 12 jurors, six alternates, two teams of attorneys, one former president and the world’s press were in attendance as Judge Juan Merchan called the court to order.

Here are your five key takeaways from a historic day in court, courtesy of Oliver O’Connell.

Joe Sommerlad23 April 2024 09:45


New York hush money trial: Trump lashes out after jurors hear of 2016 ‘election fraud’ scheme in opening statements

Donald Trump unloaded on reporters and news cameras for nine minutes outside a Manhattan criminal courtroom on Monday after jurors heard opening statements and the first witness took the stand to testify in the first-ever criminal trial of an American president.

“It’s very unfair what’s going on and I should be allowed to campaign,” he said as he left the courthouse.

“We did nothing wrong.”

After four days of jury selection last week, the trial on the 15th floor of a New York City criminal courtroom began on Monday with opening statements that outlined this alleged plot to unlawfully influence the election’s outcome.

Here’s Alex Woodward’s report from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

Joe Sommerlad23 April 2024 09:15


Truth Social: Trump poses grandiose victim narrative videos, calls Bragg ‘election denier’ and stews on immunity

The former president turned criminal defendant was busy on social media last night, posting a series of preposterous, self-pitying campaign videos about his enemies trying to “tear him down”, at least one of which bordered on the downright irresponsible as he accused the federal government of trying to silence him because he stands up for the electorate.

He also called DA Bragg an “election denier”, just in time for Judge Merchan’s hearing on whether his social media output amounted to violations of his gag order in the hush money trial.

Trump otherwise seemed preoccupied by the Supreme Court’s hearing on his spurious “presidential immunity defence” on Thursday, claiming that, without it, presidents would be vulnerable to extortion and blackmail threats (didn’t he try to extort Volodymyr Zelensky??)

He also took time to reassure the kids that losing TikTok would be Joe Biden’s fault, denounce the protests at Columbia University and wish everyone a happy Passover!

Joe Sommerlad23 April 2024 08:45


Two years in prison for man who attacked police with Confederate flag on Jan 6

A Kentucky man who stormed the U.S. Capitol while carrying a Confederate battle flag was sentenced on Monday to more than two years in prison for pepper spraying two police officers in the face, partially blinding them for hours during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

Isreal Easterday was 19 years old when he joined a mob of Donald Trump supporters in invading the Capitol. He used pepper spray to assault two Capitol police officers who were separately guarding the East Rotunda Doors.

Chief Judge James Boasberg cited Easterday’s youth as a reason for handing down a prison term — two years and six months — that was over five times lower than the Justice Department’s initial sentencing recommendation.

The judge said Easterday, who was homeschooled by his mother while living on a family farm, “may not have fully appreciated what was going on there” at the Capitol on Jan. 6 or recognized that the Confederate flag is a “symbol of rebellion.”


Trump campaign funds being decimated by legal fees

Donald Trump’s legal fees are taking a chunk out of his campaign funds – with one of the groups that has underwritten many of those costs having spent nearly $3.7m last month.

Figures released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show this is what the Save America political action committee (PAC) spent in March, amounting to nearly three in every four dollars it raised during the same period.

Martha McHardy takes a look at the numbers:

Oliver O’Connell23 April 2024 06:45


Coming up: Supreme Court to decide whether Trump immune from federal prosecution

In addition to establishing a potentially historic ruling about the scope of presidential power, the court’s decision — whenever it comes — will undoubtedly go a long way in determining a trial date for Trump in one of the four criminal prosecutions that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee faces.

Here’s a look at what’s ahead:


Poll: RFK Jr’s presidential bid saps more support from Trump than Biden

Anti-vaccine activist and conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy Jr’s long-shot presidential bid appears to be drawing more support from former president Donald Trump than President Joe Biden, according to a new poll.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters, conducted between 12-15 April by NBC News, revealed that Mr Biden is trailing Mr Trump by two percentage points in a hypothetical two-way race, 46 per cent to 44 per cent.

Oliver O’Connell23 April 2024 03:45

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