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The case against Trump could hinge on the word of a former supermarket tabloid publisher
Could the word of a former supermarket tabloid publisher be the difference between a world of legal hurt and Donald Trump walking away scot-free?
Maybe so, and that could be the reason behind delays in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office decision over whether to indict the former president, MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin reports.
National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, who testified before the grand jury hearing evidence in the case against Trump over alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, could help prosecutors rehabilitate Michael Cohen, the former president’s ex-lawyer/fixer, who himself has a criminal past and may be carrying more legal baggage than prosecutors want to admit, the report said.
According to the report: “After all, as former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori explained this week, with each and every TV appearance Cohen raises the possibility of inconsistencies with his prior testimony and even potentially with his sworn, federal guilty plea. And that, coupled with would-be Cohen lawyer Bob Costello’s own grand jury testimony, might have forced the DA to rehabilitate its case with witnesses beyond Cohen.”
And although Pecker probably doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of falsified business records, he previously communicated with the former president about “catch and kill” schemes, The New York Times reports.
“As Mr. Obama prepared to leave office in 2015, Mr. Trump decided to run for president once more. That August, he sat in his office at Trump Tower with Mr. Cohen and David Pecker, the publisher of American Media Inc. and its flagship tabloid, The National Enquirer,” The Times reports.
“Mr. Pecker, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, had used The Enquirer to boost Mr. Trump’s past presidential runs. He promised to publish positive stories about Mr. Trump and negative ones about opponents, according to three people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Pecker also agreed to work with Mr. Cohen to find and suppress stories that might damage Mr. Trump’s new efforts, a practice known as ‘catch and kill.’”
According to the MSNBC report, Trump in June 2016 sought Percker’s help silencing Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate who sought to monetize an alleged affair with Trump, and then in October of that year (the day after “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced) Cohen, Trump and Enquirer editor Dylan Howard spoke after Pecker declined to pay Stormy Daniels $120,000 for her silence.
Prosecutors won’t have much margin for error if they hope to secure a felony conviction against Trump, The New York Times reports, noting “the case against the former president hinges on an untested and therefore risky legal theory involving a complex interplay of laws, all amounting to a low-level felony.”
“If Mr. Trump were ultimately convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of four years, though prison time would not be mandatory.”
The “risky legal theory” prosecutors are considering would require proving not just that Trump was guilty of a misdemeanor for falsifying business records, but that it was “done in furtherance of another felony, another crime,” and that would have to be a New York state crime, according to Cornell Law School adjunct professor Randy Zelin, Rolling Stone reports.
“What you need to do to elevate the misdemeanor falsification of business records to a felony simply is this — [show] that the act of falsifying the business records was done in furtherance of another felony, another crime, that’s it,” Zelin said, noting that . “it would have to be a New York state crime.”
“I think that the district attorney’s office in New York County is running a great risk of diluting the strength of other potential cases brought by other prosecutors, because this is a weak case — legally, it is a weak case.”
ALSO IN THE NEWS: Allen Weisselberg just fired his Trump-funded lawyers — is he about to flip?
Allen Weisselberg just fired his Trump-funded lawyers — is he about to flip?
Sources are telling WNBC that Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organization, has fired his Trump Org lawyers.
Weisselberg is not the first one to do something like this. Michael Cohen did it just before he flipped on Trump. Cassidy Hutchinson had a Trump-funded lawyer before she fired him and got another lawyer so she could tell the Jan. 6 investigatory committee the truth about what she learned working for former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Each time a Trump-funded lawyer was fired, it has been an indication that those previous allies were about to turn.
Weisselberg is serving a five-month sentence in Rikers Island Prison, known for being one of the most violent prisons in America. MSNBC's Ali Velshi noted that if someone was trying to get Weisselberg to flip, now would be the time. Last month, the New York Times reported that the Manhattan prosecutor's office was pondering whether to file new charges against Weisselberg for fraud.
Nick Gravante and Mary Mulligan are no longer with Weisselberg.
"Our colleagues at NBC saying that his attorneys, who are being paid for by the Trump Organization to represent Weisselberg, are no longer representing him," said Velshi. It's a big deal. That could potentially explain the delay."
The delay that Velshi is talking about is the idea that Trump claimed eight days ago that he was about to be arrested. He hasn't been. In fact, there's no indication that he's been indicted either. Grand juries are secret, so it's also possible that they have voted to indict and it simply hasn't made its way to Trump yet. It's assumed the information will be leaked by Trump when it happens, because the district attorney can't legally reveal any information from the grand jury.
See his interview with a former assistant district attorney for the Manhattan DA office below. Or you can click the link to see it here.
Is weisseberbg flipping? www.youtube.com
'Stunning': Analyst breaks down how Fox desperately put election liars on air to keep their audience
CNN's Oliver Darcy reacted with astonishment on Wednesday evening to the newly released emails in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, which provided even more evidence the network higher-ups, including CEO Suzanne Scott, knew they were pushing false conspiracy theories about the election — something Fox still denies.
"Stunning that the CEO of Fox said in an email or a text, said that fact-checking the former president, which some Fox employees were trying to do, was bad for business," said anchor Anderson Cooper. "Not something you would expect from a leader of a purported news network."
"Right," said Darcy. "Now we're having new emails that really shed light on the pressure that Fox News is under as a business, after they called the election accurately for Joe Biden. I want to read to you an email that Suzanne Scott, the CEO, sent another executive after a correspondent, Eric Shawn, fact-checked Trump's lies and a guest who went on Sean Hannity's program and spread some election lies, and she said, 'This has to stop,' and goes on to say 'This is bad business and there clearly is a lack of understanding of what is happening in these shows. The audience is furious and we are just feeding the material. Bad for business.'"
"Now, Fox News will say that this was because they fact-checked a guest that was spreading, again, these election conspiracy theories on Sean Hannity's show," Darcy added. "But still, regardless, like, if a guest went on cnn and spread election conspiracy theories, it would be pretty normal, it would be expected, that other anchors would then call it out. In fact, check that for the audience."
"There was also emails about concern about viewers dropping out of their streaming service, is that right?" Cooper continued.
"Viewers left in pretty large numbers after the election," said Darcy. "When they were rebelling against fox news, they switched over to Newsmax, which Donald Trump was telling them to do. But now we're also learning in this new email that 25,000 subscribers to Fox Nation, Fox News' streaming service, had also dropped. They had just unsubscribed, apparently because there were so angry that Fox News had the nerve to actually accurately call the election for Joe Biden. And in other another email that we also see, we see Dobbs producers talking about how putting on election liars like Rudy Giuliani, like Sidney Powell, was actually good for the ratings. In one email they write, 'I mean to keep this alive we really need Rudy or Sidney.' I mean, extremely stunning emails, again. There's just a mountain of evidence now showing the behind the scenes at Fox News."
Watch the segment below or at this link.
Oliver Darcy breaks down "stunning" Fox News emails www.youtube.com