Trump trial updates: Focus shifts to $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels

Former President Donald Trump in a courtroom sketch
A courtroom sketch of former President Donald Trump. (Jane Rosenberg/AP, Pool)

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker concluded his testimony about a deal to kill negative stories about then-candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign. This is Yahoo News' succinct update on the criminal and civil cases against Trump. Here are the latest developments.

After Pecker finished testifying about his efforts to aid Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, prosecutors called two more witnesses. The first, Rhona Graff, a longtime assistant to Trump at the Trump Organization, said she recalled seeing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the reception area at Trump Tower. The second, former First Republic Bank senior managing director Gary Farro, testified about setting up an account with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that was used to pay Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her alleged extramarital affair with Trump, a payment prosecutors say violated campaign finance laws.

Pecker testimony wraps up: After just over 10 hours on the witness stand, Pecker concluded his testimony in the trial. Lawyers for both sides painted opposing pictures in their questioning about whether the deal Pecker reached with Trump in 2015 amounted to “standard operating procedure” for tabloid publications. Trump’s lawyers suggested the agreement to purchase and bury negative stories about Trump was nothing unusual, while prosecutors portrayed it as part of a conspiracy that violated New York law. Under questioning from prosecutors, Pecker, who had cut a deal to testify that spares him from being prosecuted, said the hush money payments the Enquirer made — to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to kill a story about her alleged affair with Trump and to a former doorman who falsely claimed to have details about an out-of-wedlock child fathered by Trump — were indeed unusual.

Trump’s former assistant briefly takes the stand: Prosecutors called Trump's former assistant Rhona Graff as their second witness. She testified that she saw Daniels in a 26th-floor reception area in Trump Tower prior to Trump’s June 2015 announcement that he was running for president, and told jurors that she had heard Trump was considering Daniels as a contestant on his reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.” Graff, who under cross-examination gushed about working for Trump, said he had contact entries for Daniels and McDougal, both of whom claim to have had extramarital affairs with him.

Bank executive testifies about setting up account used to pay Daniels: Former First Republic Bank managing director Gary Farro was called as the prosecution’s third witness. He testified about his dealings with former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to establish a limited liability corporation account that Cohen used to pay $130,000 to Daniels. Prosecutors say that money was transferred as part of an agreement made during the 2016 presidential campaign to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. The agreement and the payment, prosecutors say, violated New York campaign finance laws.

There is no court scheduled for Monday, so testimony will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30.