Who are the key players in the court case of the decade - as GOP ... trends now

Who are the key players in the court case of the decade - as GOP ... trends now
Who are the key players in the Trump court case of the decade - as GOP ... trends now

Who are the key players in the Trump court case of the decade - as GOP ... trends now

Ex president Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial begins in earnest Monday morning as jury selection begins in a New York courtroom for what the GOP frontrunner called a 'communist show trial' at a rally in Pennsylvania

Trump is accused of burying stories about his extramarital affairs with porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign through $130,000 in hush money. 

The trial  limit Trump's availability on the campaign trail, though he is expected to speak to the media after court often and has for months fundraised and campaigned on the felony charges he faces. 

In addition, Trump is subject to a gag order in the case meaning he is not allowed to make public statements about witnesses, ie Daniels or his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, or prosecutors, court staff or the family members. 

Trump could face fines or jail time if he violates the order. Prosecutors sought the order because they said Trump had a long history of verbally attacking people involved in legal proceedings.

The first every criminal trial of a former president will see an incredible array of witnesses, lawyers and prosecutors take center stage in Manhattan.

Stormy Daniels 

Stormy Daniels aka Stephanie Clifford, pictured in 2023, says she had a brief sexual liaison with Trump in 2006

Stormy Daniels aka Stephanie Clifford, pictured in 2023, says she had a brief sexual liaison with Trump in 2006

Stormy Daniels is easily the most recognizable person involved in this case. 

A porn actor who's also had bit parts in mainstream films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about what she says was an awkward and unexpected sexual encounter with Trump at a celebrity golf outing in Lake Tahoe in 2006. Trump denies having sex with Daniels.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid the money in the final weeks of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign after her representative said she was willing to make on-the-record statements to the National Enquirer or on television confirming a sexual encounter with Trump. 

Daniels attempted to capitalize on her newfound notoriety after news of the payment became public, embarking on a nationwide strip club tour in 2018. 

During a stop in Columbus, Ohio, Daniels was arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching an undercover officer, but the charges were dropped hours later.

Her former lawyer, Michael Avenatti, is serving 11 years in prison for extortion and fraud, including a conviction for stealing $297,000 in proceeds from Daniels' 2018 book, Full Disclosure.  

Michael Cohen

Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pictured in 2023, Cohen will be a key witness in the case

Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pictured in 2023, Cohen will be a key witness in the case 

A lawyer by training, Cohen worked for the Trump Organization from 2006 to 2017, serving as Trump's fixer. He once proudly proclaimed he'd 'take a bullet' for his boss.

Cohen took the lead in arranging the payment to Daniels, passing it through a corporation he established for the purpose. He says he was then reimbursed by Trump, whose company logged the payment and related bonuses as 'legal expenses.'

A few months earlier, Cohen had also arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer to make the similar $150,00 payment to McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. 

Cohen made recordings of a conversation in which he and Trump spoke about the arrangement to pay McDougal through the tabloid publisher. At one point, Trump said: 'What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?' Trump denies the affair.

After Trump became president, Cohen held himself out as someone who could potentially advise corporate clients on the new administration, collecting hefty fees from companies seeking influence in the new White House.

Federal prosecutors in 2018 charged Cohen with evading taxes related to his investments in the taxi industry, with lying to Congress and with campaign finance violations related to the hush money payments.

Cohen, who blamed Trump for his legal problems, pleaded guilty and served about a year in prison before being released to home confinement because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is now a key prosecution witness in the Manhattan district attorney's investigation.

David Pecker

The National Enquirer's former publisher and a longtime Trump friend, David Pecker

The National Enquirer's former publisher and a longtime Trump friend, David Pecker

The National Enquirer's former publisher and a longtime Trump friend, Pecker testified twice before the grand jury about the tabloid's involvement in suppressing negative stories about Trump.

Pecker met with Cohen during Trump's 2016 campaign and said the Enquirer's parent company would help buy and bury potentially damaging stories about Trump's relationship with women.

Pecker, who was the Enquirer's chairman and chief executive at the time, agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such stories. 

In June 2016, he alerted Cohen that McDougal's lawyer had approached the publication seeking to sell her story about an alleged affair with Trump.

The Enquirer's owner at the time, American Media Inc., then agreed to pay McDougal for 'limited life rights' to the story of her relationship with 'any then-married man.' 

The publisher said it would feature her on two magazine covers and print more than 100 of her articles in exchange for $150,000.

Cohen signed an agreement to buy the nondisclosure part of McDougal's contract for $125,000 through a company he formed, but Pecker later called off the deal and told Cohen to tear up the agreement.

Federal prosecutors agreed in 2018 not to prosecute American Media in exchange for its cooperation in the campaign finance investigation that led to Cohen's guilty plea and prison sentence. 

The Federal Election Commission fined the company $187,500, deeming the McDougal deal as a 'prohibited corporate in-kind contribution.'

Pecker stepped down as CEO of the publisher in 2020.

Karen McDougal 

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, pictured with magazine founder Hugh Hefner, says she had an affair with Trump from 2006 through 2007

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, pictured with magazine founder Hugh Hefner, says she had an affair with Trump from 2006 through 2007

A former Playboy model who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump in the mid-2000s, McDougal was paid $150,000 in 2016 by the parent company of the National Enquirer for the rights to her story about the alleged relationship. 

Trump denies any affair.

The story never ran. The company suppressed McDougal's story until after the election, a dubious journalism practice known as'catch and kill. 

American Media Inc. has acknowledged that its payments to McDougal were done specifically to assist Trump's election bid and were made 'in concert' with his campaign.

McDougal has said Trump tried to pay her after their first sexual tryst at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2006. McDougal said she continued the relationship with Trump for about 10 months and broke it off in April 2007 because she felt guilty.

 Allen Weisselberg 

Allen Weisselberg, former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is accused of structuring the payment to Daniels

Allen Weisselberg, former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is accused of structuring the payment to Daniels 

The longtime chief financial officer at the Trump Organization, Weisselberg made key decisions in how the company kept its books, but did not appear to be cooperating with the hush-money investigation.

During testimony before Congress in 2019, Cohen said it was Weisselberg who decided how to structure his reimbursement for the payment to Daniels. Cohen said Weisselberg paid the money out over 12 months 'so that it would look like a retainer.'  

Federal prosecutors gave Weisselberg limited immunity from prosecution in exchange for his grand jury testimony in their

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Fire at amusement park in India leaves at least 20 dead as police accuse the ... trends now
NEXT Female teacher, 35, is arrested after sending nude pics via text to students ... trends now