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Trump Suffers Yet Another Blow on Hush-Money Trial Gag Order

A New York court has shut down Donald Trump’s sorry attempt to overturn his gag order.

Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

A New York appeals court on Tuesday shut down Donald Trump’s request to overturn the gag order in his hush-money trial, reports MSNBC.

The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, ruled Tuesday that with his decision to impose a gag order, Judge Juan Merchan “properly weighed petitioner’s First Amendment Rights against the court’s historical commitment to ensuring the fair administration of justice in criminal cases.”

“Justice Merchan properly determined [Trump’s] public statements posed a significant threat to the integrity of the testimony of witnesses and potential witnesses in this case as well,” the appeals court added.

The gag order prohibits Trump from attacking Merchan, court staff, the prosecution, witnesses, and their families. Trump has decried this order as an attack on his constitutional right to free speech, complaining that he isn’t allowed to respond to statements made against him. The former president has already been fined $10,000 for 10 violations of the order, and Merchan has warned Trump that any further violations would send him to jail.

In the past week, Trump has heard testimony from two witnesses with damaging testimony: adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his former fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen, who have each gotten under his skin. He is carefully attempting to skirt the order by dodging reporters’ questions about having surrogates attack the people he cannot. For example, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson attended Trump’s trial on Tuesday and criticized the people specifically mentioned in the gag order.

The former president is accused of paying off Daniels in order to keep their affair under wraps before the 2016 presidential election with the help of Cohen. Trump faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

This story has been updated.

Ron DeSantis Now Fundraising for Man Who Called Him a Groomer

Ron DeSantis once again proves he has no spine when it comes to Donald Trump.

Donald Trump puts his hand on Ron DeSantis’s shoulder as he reaches for the podium mic. Both smile weirdly.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After being mercilessly bullied by Donald Trump during his failed run for president, Ron DeSantis is now helping Donald Trump.

The Florida governor is going to be fundraising for Trump over the next few weeks, as they discussed during a meeting last month in Miami. DeSantis is calling donors while his staff organizes a travel schedule that includes stops in Florida and Texas, the AP reported late Monday.

It’s a far cry from the presidential primary race, when Trump called DeSantis a variety of names, including “Meatball Ron,” “Rob,” “Ron DeSanctimonious,” and “Ron DeSanctus,” as well as the pedophile slur “groomer.” A story about DeSantis eating pudding with his fingers was the basis for an attack ad from a Trump-aligned political action committee.

So what is DeSantis’s angle? His authoritarian laws have crumbled, losing in repeated court cases, and DeSantis has been forced to back away from measures such as his signature book ban. He’s probably eyeing the 2028 race and hoping to stay in Trump’s favor, having endorsed Trump right after he dropped out of the current presidential race.

Trump’s campaign desperately needs the cash, as nearly a third of his campaign donations have gone to pay the former president’s legal bills. He has even resorted to selling the use of his likeness to other political campaigns.

Trump’s Deranged Rant Kicks Off Day 2 of Michael Cohen’s Testimony

Donald Trump is not handling Cohen’s testimony in this trial well at all.

Donald Trump speaking
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump took to his social media platform Tuesday morning to fume in his usual type-screaming style that the hush-money case against him is “election interference” and that Judge Merchan, who is overseeing the trial, is somehow “making big money.” Trump’s rhetorical attacks on Merchan have previously led to threats against his family.

Ahead of trial proceedings regarding hush-money payments made to adult actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged 2006 affair with Trump, the former president was flanked by a gaggle of conservative politicians, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

NBC reported that Trump carried his online ranting into Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday morning, telling reporters as he arrived, “Signing an NDA is not a crime.” NBC noted this was an unusual statement for Trump to make, as he previously claimed no awareness of a nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels.

In a video posted to his Truth Social account, Trump spoke from a stack of prepared notes for the court reporters, seemingly treating his hush-money trial as a campaign stop, where he criticized electric vehicles being “shoved down our throats,” read off polling data, quoted various figures supportive of Trump amid this latest trial, and even gave backhanded props to Biden preparing to impose new tariffs on China, including on electric vehicles.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and self-described “fixer,” is set to continue his second day of testimony, where he says he was directed by Trump to pay Daniels $130,000 to quash efforts to sell her story regarding an alleged affair she had with Trump in 2006.

On Monday, Cohen recounted his discussions with the former president, at the time the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, claiming Trump told him Daniels’s story would be a “total disaster” to his campaign.

Trump Trial Is Ideal Stage for Desperate Republicans to Suck Up to Him

Vivek Ramaswamy, Mike Johnson, and Tim Scott are the latest to put in an appearance.

Mike Johnson and Vivek Ramaswamy stand behind Donald Trump as he speaks
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s hush-money trial has become a real who’s who of conservatives vying for the presumed GOP presidential nominee’s favor.

Before the trial began on Tuesday, some of Trump’s former GOP nomination opponents, as well as some of the biggest players in the Republican Party, showed up to support him. Biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy—who is reportedly under consideration to be homeland security secretary if Trump wins in November—and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, whom Trump has confirmed is on his veep long list, were at the courthouse, apparently bearing no ill will toward the man who overwhelmingly defeated them in the 2024 Republican primaries.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who never performed above single-digit support in the primaries, also came out to back Trump. As did House Speaker Mike Johnson, who is not a running mate contender but enjoyed Trump’s support during a chaotic bid to oust him from the speakership.

They all join Senators J.D. Vance and Tommy Tuberville, who appeared with Trump outside the courtroom on Monday.

A majority of Trump’s high-profile attendees have refused to provide direct answers in recent weeks when questioned about whether they’ll accept the November election results. Scott, for his part, refused six times to give his answer on the issue during an interview on Meet the Press. The show of loyalty is a significant rejection of the rule of law in favor of power in Trump’s potential administration—and it’s especially poignant in the face of his first criminal trial.

Trump is accused of using Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Trump’s Biggest Donors Behind Group Doxxing Pro-Palestine Students

These Republican billionaires are backing a shady group harassing college kids.

A student (back to the camera) is draped in a Palestinian flag. Others are in the background wearing keffiyehs and a Palestinian flag.
Ying Tang/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Accuracy in Media, a deliriously named far-right group known for doxxing students, revealed that some of Donald Trump’s biggest donors are among its top contributors. The conservative donors were revealed by the group’s 2022 tax returns reviewed by CNBC. The group reported $1.9 million in contributions between May 2022 and April 2023, according to CNBC.

According to the tax returns, family foundations for Richard Uihlein, the conservative billionaire founder of shipping supply company Uline, and Adam Milstein, a real estate executive, both gave $10,000 to Accuracy in Media. The Adolph Coors Foundation, the charity for the Coors brewing family, reportedly donated $15,000. As CNBC reported, these foundations are all regular donors to Republican campaigns.

Included in Accuracy in Media’s tax filings is an eye-popping $1 million donation from GOP megadonor Jeff Yass. Accuracy in Media disputes the accuracy of Yass’s donation, which appears on two pages of the group’s tax filings, and claims its presence is an error, for which it blamed its accountant.

Accuracy in Media is best known for its “doxxing trucks”—LED trucks the organization hires to circle college campuses such as Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and more. The trucks depict images of students, faculty, and staff and falsely accuse them of being antisemitic for espousing pro-Palestine views or engaging in activities calling for a cease-fire.

One student featured on the trucks filed a lawsuit in November against Accuracy in Media and its founder Adam Guillette for defamation, civil rights violations, and more. In late October last year, Jewish students at Columbia University protested the presence of the doxxing truck, where it regularly visited for weeks before branching to more campuses.

Accuracy in Media blamed its accounting firm, JBS & Co., for the inadvertent disclosure of the right-wing benefactors behind its doxxing trucks and harassing web pages created to single out students opposed to Israel’s devastation of Palestine. JBS & Co. told CNBC the information it filed, including the disputed presence of Yass’s $1 million donation, was provided to it by Accuracy in Media. To date, none of Accuracy in Media’s tax filing information has appeared on its own LED truck.

Michael Cohen Confirms Damning Note on Trump’s Hush-Money Payments

Donald Trump’s former fixer is using this trial to expose everything about Trump’s hush-money scheme.

Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Michael Cohen verified handwritten notes in court during Donald Trump’s hush-money trial Monday detailing the former president’s payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

The notes were written on a bank statement of a wire transfer of $130,035, the amount of money paid to Daniels, with Cohen’s help, to prevent her affair with Trump from becoming public before the 2016 election. One note in Cohen’s handwriting shows how a $50,000 payment for tech services was added to the wire transfer amount for a total of $180,035. An additional note on the statement in Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg’s handwriting shows that subsequent amount being “grossed up” to $360,000 so Cohen would avoid federal taxes.

Cohen, Trump’s former fixer and attorney, testified that he had been reimbursed for legal expenses from the Trump Organization before, but it had not been “grossed up” in those cases. Cohen’s testimony corroborates exactly what another key witness testified last week when he took the stand.

Former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney also confirmed these handwritten notes, as well as other notes that McConney took on Trump stationery. Like Cohen, McConney also couldn’t recall another time when a reimbursement for expenses was doubled for tax reasons. At the time, Trump lawyer Emil Bove tried and failed to have the reasons behind the inflated payment to Cohen stricken from the record.

Prosecutors hope that this paper trail, confirmed by Cohen’s testimony, makes it plainly clear to the jury that Trump, through Cohen, paid off Daniels and then attempted not only to hide the payment but to make sure that reimbursing Cohen wouldn’t be exposed or reduced by taxes, and was fully involved in the entire process. Trump faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Michael Cohen Just Blew Trump’s Hush-Money Case Wide Open

Cohen just made it very hard for Trump to claim he didn’t know about the payments.

Donald Trump looks to the side
Sarah Yenesel/Pool/Getty Images

It’s only the first day of Michael Cohen’s hush-money trial testimony, and he’s already put a huge nail in the coffin of Donald Trump’s legal defense.

In opposition to everything Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue, Cohen testified Monday that Trump knew every detail about the $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. In fact, not only did Trump sign off on the payments to cover up his affair with Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election, but he personally promised to pay Cohen back for them.

Cohen said that when he agreed to pay Daniels out of his own pocket, Trump promised to reimburse him.

When prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked if Cohen would have paid Daniels without first getting Trump’s approval, Cohen said no.

“Everything required a sign-off from Mr. Trump,” Cohen told the court. “But on top of that, I wanted the money back.”

That’s counter to what Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue, which is that the funds came from Cohen alone and that Trump was not aware of the hush-money payments. But other witnesses in the criminal trial have made similar accusations, including Daniels’s former attorney Keith Davidson, who testified that he understood at the time the agreement was drawn up that the ultimate source of the money would be Trump.

The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Michael Cohen Reveals Trump’s Gross Reaction to Stormy Going Public

Michael Cohen isn’t holding back in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial.

Michael Cohen walks
Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When Donald Trump heard that Stormy Daniels intended to sell her story of their affair, he thought it would be a disaster—but only because it would hurt what women thought of him, while men would think it was “cool,” Michael Cohen testified Monday.

“This is a disaster—a total disaster—women will hate me. Guys they think it’s cool, but this is gonna be a disaster for the campaign,” Trump said, according to his ex-fixer and attorney’s testimony during the former president’s hush-money trial Monday.

According to Cohen, Trump’s polling with women was poor following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood video, where he ​​described women’s bodies with obscene language and bragged about forcing himself on them. Cohen recalled Trump telling him that Daniels going public would be a disaster, and Trump later ordered Cohen to “get control over it.”

Cohen would end up helping to pay off Daniels to keep the affair under wraps until after the 2016 presidential election.  

During her testimony last week, the adult film actress revealed salacious details about her 2006 tryst with the president, including how Trump didn’t use a condom and compared her to his daughter Ivanka. Daniels also said she used an excuse to avoid sex a second time with the former president. Despite the likelihood of these details coming to light with Daniels going public, Trump apparently thought men would appreciate that he had an affair with a porn star. This misogynistic view of extramarital sex lines up with how Trump framed the Access Hollywood video as “locker room talk” with the help of a suggestion from his wife, Melania.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

You Won’t Believe Melania Trump’s Reaction to Access Hollywood Tape

Michael Cohen says she helped come up with the Trump campaign’s response.

Donald Trump and Melania Trump stand next to each other
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Michael Cohen offered new insight Monday into Donald Trump’s infamous “locker room talk” defense about the Access Hollywood tape—and who allegedly came up with it.

While testifying on the stand in Trump’s hush-money trial, Cohen dished out details pertaining to the Access Hollywood tape that nearly tanked Trump’s chances at taking the White House in 2016. In the bombshell recording, Trump can be heard bragging about forcing himself on women, telling interviewer Billy Bush that he would “grab them by the pussy” and describing their bodies and the way he ogles at them with obscene language.

The tape’s release shocked the nation—so much so that media coverage of Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to make landfall in 2016, fell to the wayside. But Trump’s campaign was salvaged by one line that continues to bolster disgusting, misogynist rhetoric employed by private citizens and public figures across America: It was just “locker room talk.”

“I don’t think you understood what was—this was locker room talk,” Trump said at the time in an aimless apology. “I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.”

But it wasn’t Trump who cooked up the campaign lifeline. Recalling a conversation he had with the former reality TV star, Cohen claimed that the spin actually came from Melania Trump.

“And the spin that he wanted put on it was that this is locker room talk, something that Melania had recommended, or at least he told me that’s what Melania had thought, and use that in order to get control over the story and minimize the impact on him and his campaign,” Cohen testified.

Read more about Trump's behavior towards women:

Michael Cohen Completely Throws Trump Under Bus in Hush-Money Trial

The key witness in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial has taken the stand.

Michael Coen walks as photographers in the background capture photos of him
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Michael Cohen has not held back while testifying against his former boss Donald Trump.

Trump’s ex-fixer and attorney took the stand Monday in the former president’s hush-money trial in Manhattan and proceeded to show in great detail some very strong evidence against the former president.

Cohen told the court that he overheard Trump’s conversation with former tabloid magnate David Pecker about paying to suppress a story that Trump had an affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, debunking Trump’s assertions that he has no knowledge of any such payments.

Cohen also testified that he directly discussed an agreement to pay off McDougal with Trump, who was very happy to hear when it was finalized.

Early on in the trial, Cohen provided secret recordings of the former president discussing the financial particulars of the hush-money payments at the center of the case, showing the extent of Trump’s involvement in suppressing negative stories about himself in advance of the 2016 election. On Monday, Cohen authenticated one such recording regarding the payments to McDougal.

Cohen’s testimony has been eagerly anticipated by Trump’s critics as it could potentially damage the former president more than that of the other witnesses in the hush-money trial, as Cohen carried out the alleged hush-money payments on Trump’s behalf. Earlier in his testimony on Monday, Cohen testified that Trump didn’t use or have an email address out of fear that emails could provide documented evidence against him. Cohen’s testimony shows that such evidence existed in other forms anyway.

Trump faces 34 felony charges in the hush-money case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime for the payments, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.