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Hush cash, gag order and catch and kill: A dictionary for Trump’s New York prison trial

Centering on allegations Trump falsified his firm’s data to hide the character of hush cash reimbursements, it’s the primary ever prison trial of a former U.S. president and the first of Trump’s 4 indictments to go to trial. It additionally has some distinctive terminology.

Listed here are some examples:

Hush cash

DEFINITION: Based on Merriam-Webster, it’s cash paid so that somebody will hold info secret. In different phrases, cash that an individual pays somebody to hush up one thing.

EXAMPLE: Three funds that prosecutors say had been made on Trump’s behalf to bury marital infidelity claims throughout his 2016 presidential marketing campaign. They’re the Nationwide Enquirer’s $30,000 fee to a Trump Tower doorman and $150,000 fee to former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal, and the $130,000 that Trump’s then-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen organized to pay porn actor Stormy Daniels.

Paying hush cash isn’t unlawful by itself, however authorities say the funds made to suppress tales about Trump amounted to unlawful marketing campaign contributions. Cohen pleaded responsible in 2018 to a federal marketing campaign violation, amongst different unrelated crimes. The Nationwide Enquirer’s mum or dad firm, American Media Inc., entered right into a nonprosecution settlement in change for its cooperation with prosecutors. The Federal Election Fee fined the corporate $187,500, declaring that the McDougal deal was a “prohibited company in-kind contribution.”

‘Catch and kill’

DEFINITION: As prosecutor Matthew Colangelo advised jurors in his opening assertion, “catch-and-kill” is when a tabloid newspaper such because the Nationwide Enquirer “buys up damaging details about somebody, calls for that the supply signal a nondisclosure settlement to forestall them from taking that info or that story wherever else, after which the tabloid declines to publish the story to forestall it from ever seeing the sunshine of day.” A nondisclosure settlement is also referred to as a confidentiality settlement.

EXAMPLE: Tabloids sometimes pay sources and story topics for info they find yourself publishing. However typically they pay for tales to forestall their publication. Former Nationwide Enquirer writer David Pecker testified that he agreed, at a Trump Tower assembly in August 2015, to be the “eyes and ears” of Trump’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign. Underneath the association, Pecker stated he would notify Cohen of ladies who had been in search of to promote tales about Trump so Trump’s crew might “take them off the market or kill them in some method.”

Pecker testified that he had suppressed tales about different celebrities and politicians through the years utilizing the identical “catch and kill” strategies, together with actor and ex-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and golfer Tiger Woods. Pecker stated he typically suppressed tales merely to assist a buddy or additional his enterprise pursuits, however usually he did so to leverage the story topic into doing one thing else, like agreeing to an interview or posing for {a magazine} cowl.

Falsifying enterprise data

DEFINITION: That is the prison cost that’s being determined at Trump’s New York trial. He’s charged with 34 counts of falsifying enterprise data within the first diploma. It’s a felony punishable by as much as 4 years in jail, although there is no such thing as a assure Trump can be sentenced to any time if convicted. He has pleaded not responsible.

Underneath New York legislation, an individual is responsible of falsifying enterprise data within the first diploma when he makes or causes a false entry to be made in an organization’s enterprise data and does so with an intent to defraud, together with intent to commit or conceal one other crime.

EXAMPLE: Prosecutors allege Trump misrepresented funds to Cohen in Trump’s firm data as authorized charges after they had been really a reimbursement for the $130,000 that Cohen organized to pay Daniels. The data at challenge embrace common ledger entries, invoices and checks. Prosecutors argue Trump’s actions had been a approach of hiding the hush cash scheme and concealing different crimes arising from it, together with alleged election legislation violations. Trump denies the allegations. His attorneys have stated the funds to Cohen had been for respectable authorized bills.


DEFINITION: Trump isn’t charged with the crime of conspiracy, however prosecutors at his New York trial have used the time period repeatedly to explain his “eyes and ears” settlement with Pecker and the hush cash preparations that ensued.

Based on Merriam-Webster, conspiring entails becoming a member of “in a secret settlement to do an illegal or wrongful act or an act which turns into illegal on account of the key settlement.” Underneath New York legislation, a conspiracy entails at the least two folks appearing with intent to commit against the law.

EXAMPLE: Colangelo, the prosecutor, stated in his opening assertion that Trump’s trial entails “an unlawful conspiracy to undermine the integrity of a presidential election.” To convict Trump of felony falsifying enterprise data, prosecutors should present that he had intent to commit one other crime. Assistant District Lawyer Joshua Steinglass stated in courtroom that one of many crimes Trump meant to commit was a violation of a New York election legislation — a misdemeanor involving a conspiracy to advertise or stop an election.

Election interference

DEFINITION: Any try to change the end result of an election via nefarious means, akin to fraud, voter intimidation or efforts to overturn the end result of a race.

EXAMPLE: Prosecutors allege the hush cash scheme amounted to election interference as a result of it concerned a concerted effort to cover vital info from voters to be able to enhance Trump’s probabilities within the 2016 race.

Not solely was the Nationwide Enquirer appearing because the “eyes and ears” of Trump’s marketing campaign, figuring out unfavourable tales in order that they may very well be suppressed, Pecker testified that the tabloid, at Cohen’s behest, printed tales that tarred Trump’s opponents. It additionally revealed tales that boosted Trump’s picture.

It’s a distinct type of election interference allegation from what Trump is charged with in his Washington and Georgia circumstances, the place he’s accused of trying to subvert his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. In the meantime, Trump claims that being placed on trial whereas he’s campaigning as this yr’s presumptive Republican nominee is its personal type of election interference.

Gag order

DEFINITION: Usually talking, a gag order is “a judicial ruling barring public disclosure or dialogue (as by the press) of knowledge associated to a case,” in keeping with Merriam-Webster. In Trump’s case, it’s referred to as an Order Proscribing Extrajudicial Statements, with extrajudicial that means exterior of courtroom.

EXAMPLE: Decide Juan M. Merchan, appearing on a request from prosecutors, imposed a restricted gag order on Trump on March 26. It bars the previous president from making or directing different folks to make public statements on his behalf about potential witnesses relating to their participation within the case. It additionally prohibits feedback about jurors, prosecutors aside from District Lawyer Alvin Bragg, and any statements meant to intervene with or harass the courtroom’s workers, prosecution crew or their households.

Merchan expanded the order on April 1, barring Trump from commenting about his household or Bragg’s household. The change got here after Trump assailed the choose’s daughter and made false claims about her on social media.

Final Tuesday, Trump was assessed a $9,000 superb — $1,000 for every of 9 separate gag order violations that the choose recognized. Prosecutors later requested an extra $4,000 penalty for what they stated had been further breaches of the order.

Merchan lamented that $1,000 per violation is the utmost superb allowed by legislation and floated the potential for jailing Trump if he continues to run afoul of the gag order, an unprecedented consequence for a former American president.

Trump’s attorneys insist he wants leeway to answer criticism, together with from witnesses like Cohen and Daniels, and that the gag order impedes his capacity to reply questions and defend himself amid a crush of media protection of his case and his candidacy.

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