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Trump trial highlights: Prosecution details records ahead of Michael Cohen anticipated testimony

Cohen, a key witness in the case, paid porn actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Trump, which the former president denies.

What to know about the trial today

  • Michael Cohen, former President Donald Trump's ex-lawyer and fixer, is expected to testify Monday and be on the stand for several days.
  • Trump's former White House executive assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, is continuing her testimony. She and a Trump Organization employee testified yesterday about Trump's involvement in business affairs.
  • Adult film actress Stormy Daniels finished her testimony yesterday after cross-examination from Trump's lawyers. They tried to depict her testimony as inconsistent with past comments in interviews in an effort to cast doubt on her allegations of an affair with Trump.
  • A Manhattan district attorney employee is expected to testify about Trump's social media posts today.
  • Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide the reimbursement of his former lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment Cohen made to Daniels. Trump has denied the charges and the alleged affair.

This event has ended. Get the latest news and live updates on Trump's hush money trial here.

Trump rants about unfairness of trial, says he'd be 'very proud' to go to jail

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Speaking to cameras outside the courtroom, Trump complained about how unfair the trial is, saying, "I'm not allowed to say anything about anybody."

"It's really very sad," said Trump, who said that the Manhattan DA's office should have brought the charges seven years ago, but suggested that they brought them now because it's during an election.

"The whole case is fake. The judge is corrupt," he said. "What he did just now is a joke. It's a disgrace."

Trump said Merchan wants to put him in jail and said, "I'd be very proud to go to jail for our Constitution."

He said this case is about "somebody paid a lawyer," referring to himself, and it was marked down as a legal expense by the bookkeeper, which he said he knew nothing about. The payments were made to a lawyer, Trump said, "not a fixer."

"This is what the case is about," he said. "It's not about all the other stuff that you're seeing," adding that it's an "attempt to do something to me politically."

"There is no crime," said Trump. He added that the case should go no further and that its purpose is to "damage crooked Joe Biden's political opponent."

Trump also denounced Biden for his handling of Israel, warning Jewish people not to vote for him.

Judge orders Michael Cohen not to speak about Trump

Adam Reiss

Kyla Guilfoil

Adam Reiss and Kyla Guilfoil

Judge Merchan asked that Michael Cohen refrain from speaking out about the case and Trump prior to his expected testimony on Monday.

Trump's lawyer, Todd Blanche, said today that "It's becoming a problem every single day" that Trump is under a gag order and can't respond to comments that Cohen has been making about the case.

Prosecutors explain why they don't want to call Allen Weisselberg

Prosecutors and Trump's defense attorneys are engaging in a discussion with the judge about former Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, who has been convicted of tax evasion in connection with his work at the Trump Organization.

The parties discussed whether Weisselberg’s severance agreement should come into evidence. Under the agreement, the Trump Organization is obligated to pay him three installments by end of the year, and in exchange, he may not disparage any of its officers, director or employees.

As a solution, the judge notes that it would be helpful to him, in resolving this, if some efforts were made to secure Weisselberg's appearance. Merchan notes that the severance agreement does provide an exception for appearances compelled by lawful process.

Merchan said that if Weisselberg appeared in court while the jury was not there, they could speak to him about this rather than speculating about the bounds of his severance agreement.

Prosecution plans to call two more witnesses

Kyla Guilfoil

Jillian Frankel and Kyla Guilfoil

The prosecution said that they plan to call two more witnesses and could rest their case by the end of next week.

Trial wraps up for the day

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Court has ended for the day following the testimony of a paralegal from the district attorney's office.

D.A.'s office paralegal 'enjoyed' the work of combing through business records

When Bove, Trump's attorney, referred to Jarmel-Schneider’s work as “tedious,” the paralegal responded, “Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it.”

Bove replied good-naturedly, “Respect.”

Witness testimony introduces chart that breaks down complicated records

Kyla Guilfoil

Lisa Rubin and Kyla Guilfoil

The chart that was just admitted into evidence through Jarmel-Schneider's testimony illustrates which count corresponds to which invoices, general ledger detail vouchers and checks.

Using Jarmel-Schneider's testimony on this chart is a smart way of helping the jury understand, in simple, visual terms, what otherwise would take dozens of complicated records to show.

Trump reads newspaper clippings as witness testifies

As Jaden Jarmel-Schneider, a paralegal from the DA's office, continues his testimony, Trump continues to look through newspaper articles that have been printed for him.

We saw him do this often during the civil fraud trial earlier this year, too.

Last witness of the day takes the stand

Adam Reiss

Kyla Guilfoil

Adam Reiss and Kyla Guilfoil

The last witness for today's proceedings has taken the stand.

Jaden Jarmel-Schneider is a paralegal in the Manhattan District Attorney's office and was assigned to Trump's case. He testified that he helps with setting up subpoenas and analyzing records for the case.

The prosecution is asking him about records that he reviewed for Trump's case, including records from Michael Cohen's phone calls, emails and calendar invites.

Paralegal from DA's office authenticates texts about Stormy Daniels

After a lengthy time with prosecutors where a paralegal in the District Attorney's Office, Georgia Longstreet, read the contents of multiple text messages between National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard and Stormy Daniels' publicist Gina Rodriguez, Longstreet is now done testifying.

She was also asked by Blanche, Trump's attorney, about social media accounts she did not review, like Michael Cohen's TikTok account.

Georgia Longstreet returns to the witness stand

Kyla Guilfoil

Jillian Frankel and Kyla Guilfoil

Georgia Longstreet, who has already testified in this trial, has returned to the stand today.

Longstreet, a paralegal who had worked on Trump's case for about a year and a half, is answering more questions from the prosecution about social media posts related to the case.

She continues to authenticate posts and has also testified about text messages.

Judge says they'll only work until about 1 p.m. today

Adam Reiss

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Adam Reiss and Rebecca Shabad

Judge Merchan just said they'll work until 1 p.m. or a bit later today so that they don't need to return to the trial after lunch.

Trump's attorneys move to strike a 1999 Larry King interview from evidence

While the jury is taking a break, Trump's attorney Bove is objecting to the introduction today of an excerpt from a 1999 interview Trump did with Larry King.

During the interview, Trump boasts of his familiarity with campaign finance law and Bove argues that the interview isn't relevant because campaign finance laws have changed so much since 1999.

Becky Mangold, one of the prosecuting attorneys, told the judge that while some campaign finance law has changed, the specific law that Trump referred to has been the same for decades.

The judge sided with the defense and said he would not permit the video to be entered into evidence.

Prosecution calls another witness to testify on phone records

Adam Reiss

Kyla Guilfoil

Adam Reiss and Kyla Guilfoil

Daniel Dixon has left the stand and the prosecution has now called Jenny Tomalin as the next witness.

Tomalin testified that she has worked at Verizon for 18 years and has been a senior analyst for executive relations since 2017. She said that her duties include appearing in court to testify about records.

She was used to enter evidence from Verizon phone records. And quickly wrapped direct and cross-examination.

Telecoms expert testifies about his review of Michael Cohen's phone records

Daniel Dixon, a telecoms expert from AT&T, has wrapped up his testimony, which primarily focused on his analysis of Michael Cohen's phone records.

The prosecutors had Dixon explain some of the terms on the pages of phone records, as well as what he can tell from the records and what he can't.

When Bove, Trump's attorney, cross-examined Dixon, he tried to show that the phone records, as data rich as they are, could reflect “pocket dials” and do not establish who talked to whom, but solely that there was a connection between two numbers.

Next witness takes the stand

Kyla Guilfoil

Jillian Frankel and Kyla Guilfoil

The next witness has taken the stand.

Daniel Dixon, of Broward County, Florida, has worked at AT&T, a telecoms company, as the lead compliance analyst for the last six or seven years. In his role, Dixon helps analyze query records and helps law enforcement with records obtained by AT&T.

He is expected to testify on phone records from Michael Cohen's primary phone.

Former assistant met with Trump's lawyers ahead of testimony

Westerhout, Trump's former White House executive assistant, confirmed that she met with the defense earlier in the week to prepare for her testimony.

It was one of the last questions she answered before her time on the stand wrapped up.

Former assistant recalls Trump was 'very upset' about Stormy Daniels story

Trump attorney Susan Necheles asked Madeleine Westerhout if she was in the White House when a story came out about Trump and Stormy Daniels.

She said yes, and Necheles asked if she had a conversation with Trump about the story. Westerhout recalled that Trump was "very upset by it."

"My understanding is that he knew it would be hurtful to his family," Westerhout said. "The whole situation was very unpleasant."

Former aide testifies that Trump sometimes signed checks without reviewing them

Westerhout testified that Trump would sometimes sign checks without reviewing them, while he was doing other things.

She also said that Trump felt it was important that when people received something with his signature, it was his real signature.

Trump lawyer tries to establish why his checks, personal mail were sent to aides' homes

Trump lawyer Susan Necheles tried to establish that Trump’s frustration with the pace of the mail was the natural reason why checks and other personal mail for both Trumps were sent to his aides Keith Schiller and John McEntee at their personal addresses.

Judge denies entering document with Trump's campaign travel schedule into evidence

Adam Reiss

Kyla Guilfoil

Adam Reiss and Kyla Guilfoil

Judge Merchan denied the defense's motion to introduce a travel schedule from Trump's campaign in October 2016 into evidence.

Trump's lawyer Susan Necheles was asking the witness about the schedule, which shows dates during which Trump traveled at that time and was shared with the Republican National Convention and with his campaign.

However, after a sidebar, Merchan denied Necheles' request to enter the document into evidence.

Westerhout, former Trump executive assistant, back on the stand

Madeleine Westerhout, Trump's executive assistant early in his presidency, is back on the stand.

She testified that Trump was "proud" of a photo he took the first time he ever boarded Air Force One. Westerhout added that Trump sent the photo to Allen Weisselberg and used to send people newspaper clippings.

‘This is a disgraceful trial,’ Trump says outside courtroom

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Trump spoke to cameras in the hallway outside the courtroom, saying that this case is "highly unconstitutional" with a "conflicted judge" overseeing it.

"This is a disgraceful trial," said Trump, who read from legal scholars whose commentary he liked and agreed with regarding the trial.

"This trial was so horrible," he said, adding that it's a "tremendous abuse of the New York judicial system."

"Now, I'll go sit in that freezing cold courtroom" for eight or nine hours, he said.

Trial kicks off with another bench meeting

The judge is seated but before the jury was brought in, the prosecution asked for a bench meeting.

Madeleine Westerhout, who was Trump's executive assistant in the White house, is set to return to the stand.

Day 14 of the trial brought more Stormy Daniels testimony, new witnesses and Trump’s office habits

Attorneys for Trump sought to pierce Stormy Daniels’ credibility and motive yesterday, casting the adult film actor as someone whose retelling of their alleged sexual encounter was rife with inconsistencies and driven by a desire to harm him.

Trump’s lawyer Susan Necheles asked Daniels on the stand in Manhattan criminal court in New York City about making “a lot of money” from her story over the years, striking deals worth a million dollars or more. She also needled Daniels over the different ways she has described the encounter in magazine and prime-time interviews, as well as in the courtroom.

Daniels pushed back, saying that while she made a living speaking out against Trump, “I was not selling myself to anyone.”

Daniels’ story is a key component of the prosecution’s hush money case against Trump. The bid to silence her in the waning days of the 2016 presidential race came as Trump’s campaign feared he could not withstand further damage after a recording of him talking about inappropriately “grabbing” women threatened to derail his candidacy.

Read the full story here.

Spotted at the courthouse: Andrew Giuliani

Andrew Giuliani, a former Trump White House aide who later ran for New York governor, strode past the press line to enter the courthouse this morning.

Giuliani has been vlogging the trial, sharing live commentary on social media and in interviews on talk radio and Steve Bannon’s War Room.

He is also the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was previously a lawyer for Trump and has been indicted alongside the president in a separate criminal case on charges related to the efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump heads to court

Matt Johnson

The former president has left Trump Tower and is headed downtown to the courthouse for Day 15 of his hush money trial.

Key witness Michael Cohen to testify Monday

Adam Reiss

Michael Cohen will begin his testimony in the Trump hush money trial Monday, NBC News has learned through multiple sources. He is expected to be on the stand for several days. 

Cohen is at the center of the case as the one who paid Stormy Daniels the $130,000 hush money to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Trump toward the end of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Stormy Daniels payment puts focus on Trump and check-writing as trial testimony resumes

Trump’s criminal trial will resume today in New York City with testimony from his former White House executive assistant — a far friendlier witness than yesterday’s star attraction, adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Madeleine Westerhout began her testimony in Manhattan criminal court yesterday afternoon, after Daniels spent the morning sparring with Trump attorney Susan Necheles during cross-examination about her claim that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the allegation during the 2016 presidential election. Trump later reimbursed Cohen in payments prosecutors charge were covered up with falsified business records. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied Daniels’ claim.

Daniels got emotional at one point as Necheles asked her about various mean posts about her on social media accounts, including one from a person who’d referred to her as an “aging harlot.”

Necheles began her cross-examination of Westerhout yesterday, as well, but with a far gentler touch.

Read the full story here.

Lawyers for Trump continued their cross-examination of Stormy Daniels in the New York hush money trial. NBC News’ Yasmin Vossoughian reports on how the defense is grilling Daniels on her motives for accepting the hush money and potential inconsistencies in her story.

What to expect today

Former White House executive assistant Madeleine Westerhout is expected to return to the stand when witness testimony resumes today. Court is scheduled to be back in session at 9:30 a.m.

Westerhout testified yesterday about Trump's organizational habits and his attentiveness when she would deliver checks for him to sign. She has spoken glowingly of her former boss.

Separately, an employee from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office is expected to testify about Trump's social media posts.

Here's what you missed in court yesterday

Stormy Daniels was on the stand yesterday for her second day of testimony, where Trump's attorneys sought to call her credibility and motivation into question.

Separately, a former Trump White House executive assistant and a former Trump Organization employee took the stand. Madeleine Westerhout, the former assistant, testified about Trump's organizational habits. Trump Organization employee Rebecca Manochio testified about his involvement in handling checks.

Another witness, HarperCollins executive Tracey Menzies, testified to the accuracy of sections of a book by Trump that her company published.

After the jury was dismissed for the day, Judge Juan Merchan denied two motions brought by Trump's team: one to loosen Trump's gag order, and another seeking a mistrial.