Jury Hears Testimony on Hush-Money Payments as Judge Fines Trump for Violating Gag Order

Jury Hears Testimony on Hush-Money Payments as Judge Fines Trump for Violating Gag Order

Former United States President Donald Trump faced another fine and contempt of court charge from Judge Juan Merchan in the ongoing criminal trial related to hush-money payments made before the 2016 elections. The New York jury heard further testimony on Monday, delving into the alleged falsification of business records linked to these payments.

Judge Merchan, who has previously fined Trump nine times for violating a gag order, imposed an additional $1,000 fine and warned that imprisonment could be considered if the violations persist. The trial, which centers around hush-money payments made by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels, has already seen Trump face 34 felony charges. Prosecutors argue that Trump directed these payments to silence Daniels, who claimed to have had an extramarital affair with him.

During the trial, jurors were presented with bank records and heard testimonies from two Trump Organization members, one former and one current, who provided insights into invoices and logs related to the alleged hush-money payments. The records revealed that Trump’s longtime finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, discussed reimbursing Cohen with former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney in January 2017. The payments were listed as legal fees, which prosecutors argue demonstrates the falsification of business records.

McConney testified that after initially paying Cohen through a trust, subsequent reimbursement checks were issued from Trump’s personal account. Trump’s signature was required on these checks, which were signed at the White House. The payments were then logged as legal expenses in the Trump Organization’s filing system.

Deborah Tarasoff, the accounts payable supervisor at the Trump Organization, also testified about the process of issuing reimbursement checks to Cohen. Most of these checks were paid from Trump’s personal account and bore his signature. Two other checks were drawn from Trump’s revocable trust, signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Weisselberg, and logged as legal expenses arising from a retainer agreement.

In addition to the trial proceedings, Judge Merchan issued a $1,000 fine to Trump for violating the gag order for the 10th time. The judge expressed concern that the fines were not deterring Trump from further violations and warned that jail time could be considered as a last resort. Trump, however, maintained his defiance, claiming the case was ridiculous and that he had done nothing wrong.

Author: CrimeDoor

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