Trump trial continues after warning about jail, testimony on bookkeeping

Donald Trump’s criminal trial resumes Tuesday, the day after jurors were given a deep look at accounting inside the former president’s company and the judge warned Trump he’s at risk of being jailed.

Prosecutors on Monday called two longtime Trump Organization bookkeepers who explained the raw mechanics of processing an invoice, from bill to general ledger entry to signed check. Jurors were then shown a series of checks paid to Michael Cohen in 2017 and signed by either Trump or two of his adult sons. The payments totaled $420,000 over the course of the year. 

Former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney also reviewed a copy of handwritten notes from seven years ago. Prosecutors say it showed how Trump’s staff accounted for the $130,000 Cohen paid adult film star Stormy Daniels for her silence the year before about an alleged sexual encounter. They added another $50,000 owed to Cohen, totaling $180,000. They then doubled that figure to offset an expected tax hit, and added on a $60,000 year-end bonus to get to the final $420,000 figure. 

The calculations had a note near the bottom: “Wire monthly from DJT,” referring to Trump’s personal bank account.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to the reimbursements to Cohen. He has pleaded not guilty and denies having sex with Daniels.

Earlier in the day, Judge Juan Merchan found for a 10th time that Trump had violated a gag order in the case and held him in contempt.

Merchan warned that the penalty would be harsher if Trump continues to violate the order. 

“It appears that the $1,000 fines are not serving as a deterrent, therefore, going forward, this court will have to consider a jail sanction if it is recommended,” Merchan said.

Prosecutors have not said who they’ll next call to the stand. Court reconvenes at 9:30 a.m.

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