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Who Is David Pecker? Ex-National Enquirer Publisher Tells Trump Jurors His Tabloid Would ‘Embellish’ Stories In Trump’s Favor

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The former National Enquirer publisher was the first to testify before a jury beginning Monday.
Topline
Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified to jurors in Trump’s Manhattan hush money trial Tuesday about how he worked with Trump and his associates to publish stories to aid Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election—testimony crucial to prosecutors’ claim that Trump, with Pecker’s help, sought to kill affair allegations before the 2016 election.Key Facts

Pecker served from 1999 to 2020 as CEO of National Enquirer parent company American Media Inc., now A360 Media.

Pecker promised Trump after he launched his first presidential bid in 2015 he would act as his “eyes and ears” by alerting him to potentially negative stories about him, publishing others about Trump’s rivals, and orchestrating a series of “catch and kill” schemes to silence damning allegations against Trump, according to prosecutors.

Pecker was the first witness called to testify in the case Monday, when he explained to jurors that the tabloid routinely “used checkbook journalism, and we paid for stories,” the New York Times reported.

Continuing his testimony on Tuesday, Pecker detailed how he was in regular communication with Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen about how to spin National Enquirer stories in Trump’s favor, detailing headline by headline to the jury how Cohen would make suggestions for coverage and the Enquirer would “embellish” the information, according to the New York Times.

After GOP debates, for example, Pecker said Cohen would request that the National Enquirer publish negative stories about the best-performing candidate.

Pecker alerted Cohen that adult film star Stormy Daniels was trying to sell her story of a 2006 one-night stand with Trump, according to prosecutors and Cohen, who said he then negotiated the hush money payment to Daniels that is at the center of the case against Trump.

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