New witnesses and contact info for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal


Two new witnesses took the stand Friday after four days of testimony from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

Trump’s longtime assistant, Rhona Graff, told the court that his contact list included information for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who have both claimed they had affairs with the former president in 2006. Trump has denied their claims.

Graff’s testimony was followed by Gary Farro, a bank executive who said he helped former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen set up a bank account for the shell company he used to pay Daniels.

Here’s what you missed on Day 8 of the trial:

Pecker cross-examined

For his fourth day on the stand, Pecker faced a rapid fire cross-examination by Trump attorney Emil Bove.

The defense attempted to pierce Pecker’s credibility as a witness by countering the narrative woven by prosecutors earlier in the week about an alleged scheme by Trump to influence the 2016 presidential election.

A rapt jury took notes and watched as Pecker answered questions about his recollection of meetings with Trump and Cohen, as Bove sought to establish for the court that there was not anything unusual about events and interactions highlighted by the prosecution, like his purchasing of McDougal’s story with no intention of publishing it.

Bove sought to establish that the National Enquirer stood to profit off the stories it bought by describing the business model for tabloid newspapers and the incentives that powered Pecker’s decisions as an executive. Whether Pecker published salacious stories about celebrities or purchased them for future leverage, he did so to improve his company’s bottom line, Bove argued.

Pecker said the National Enquirer also relied on information that was already in the public domain, lifting reporting from other publications, including stories about malpractice claims against Trump’s then rival in the 2016 GOP primary, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

“Running those stories was good for AMI,” Pecker told the court.

Pecker testified that he was not prosecuted for what he called a campaign finance violation with respect to how AMI handled the payoff to McDougal. Bove said Pecker was only able to evade charges due to an agreement he made with prosecutors.

“That’s why it’s called a non-prosecution agreement,” Bove quipped.

Later, Bove said that it’s the district attorney’s office that has the last word on “whether [Pecker] has been truthful,” implying that if prosecutors are not satisfied, he could face repercussions.

Trump had contact info for Karen McDougal and ‘Stormy’ saved, docs show

Graff, who worked at the Trump Organization for 34 years, confirmed documents that showed Trump’s contacts from years ago included entries for McDougal and one that just read “Stormy.”

Under questioning from prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Graff said she had a “vague recollection” of seeing Daniels on the 25th floor at Trump Tower, where Trump’s office at the time was located.

Graff said she was aware that Daniels was an adult actress, and that she’d heard Trump refer to her as someone who could make “an interesting” contestant on “The Apprentice,” the reality TV show that he hosted for more than a decade beginning in 2004.

While on the stand, Graff said she was testifying in compliance with a subpoena. Like other witnesses who work for Trump and have been drawn into his legal cases, Graff said her attorneys were paid for by Trump. She said she didn’t know how much they were paid, adding that she’d forgotten one of their names.

“Brittany — I am sorry, her last name escapes me,” Graff told the court, before apologizing to her attorney directly. “I am sorry, Brittany.”

Cohen’s former banker testifies

Prosecutors began establishing new details in the case when Farro, Cohen’s former banker, took the stand.

He explained how he came to be assigned to Cohen, saying it was due in part to an “ability to handle individuals who are challenging.” But Farro said his interactions with Cohen never struck him that way.

“Michael did a lot of his own business and frankly, I didn’t find him that difficult,” Farro said.

Prosecutors are using his testimony to confirm documents related to the transaction between Cohen and Daniels.

When court resumes on Tuesday, Farro will again take the stand.

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