Stormy Daniels' former attorney returning to the stand in Trump trial

An attorney who represented two women seeking payments in 2016 for their silence about alleged sexual encounters with Donald Trump will continue his testimony Thursday in the former president’s criminal trial.

On Tuesday, the most recent day of proceedings, Keith Davidson told the court how he negotiated on behalf of model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels as they sought deals for the rights to their stories of alleged sexual encounters with Trump.

McDougal was paid $150,000 by the parent company of the tabloid magazine the National Enquirer for her story, as part of what prosecutors say was a scheme to bolster Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid $130,000 by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer.

Cohen is expected to be called later in the trial as a key witness against Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Trump denies committing the crimes and says he did not have sex with Daniels or McDougal.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors showed a series of text messages and emails in which Davidson marketed McDougal’s allegations to the tabloid, calling them a “blockbuster” story about Trump. He later negotiated directly with Cohen to sell the rights to Daniels’ claims.

Davidson testified that he understood suppressing the stories would be beneficial to Trump’s candidacy.

Before Davidson took the stand on Tuesday, Judge Juan Merchan held Trump in contempt for a series of social media and online campaign posts he concluded violated a gag order in the case. Thursday, he will hear arguments about four additional times that prosecutors say Trump violated the gag, which bars him from making public comments about witnesses and others involved in the case.

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