Trump trial live updates: Trump fined $9K for gag order violations, could be jailed next time


(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump is on trial in New York City, where he is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. It marks the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been tried on criminal charges.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s how the news is developing:

Apr 30, 10:38 AM
Farro says Cohen was removed as his client in 2017

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Todd Blanche, Michael Cohen’s former banker testified about his first interactions with Cohen.

Gary Farro said his boss introduced him to Michael Cohen in Cohen’s office in Trump Tower.

“He was a challenging client because of his desire to get things done so quickly,” Farro said. “Ninety percent of the time, it was an urgent matter.”

Farro said that his supervisors removed Cohen as his client in 2017, as the details about the transactions in question “went public.”

“They didn’t want me to have communication with the client any longer,” Farro said.

Apr 30, 10:31 AM
Banker says Daniels payment could have prompted review

Prosecutor Becky Mangold concluded her direct examination of banker Gary Farro by asking if First Republic Bank would have still permitted the wire transfer to Stormy Daniels if Michael Cohen disclosed the money was going to an adult film actress.

“There would definitely have been enhanced due diligence on that,” Farro said, adding that the due diligence would have delayed the payment.

“We might consider that a reputational risk,” Farro added.

After prosecutors completed their direct examination of Gary Farro, defense attorney Todd Blanche began his cross-examination.

Apr 30, 10:21 AM
Banker details Michael Cohen’s $130K payment to Stormy Daniels

Michael Cohen’s former banker, Gary Farro, returned to the stand, where he was asked by prosecutor Becky Mangold about Cohen’s frantic effort to create a bank account for a new company he created called Essential Consultants LLC on October 26, 2016.

Referring to Stormy Daniels, Farro told jurors that Cohen did not disclose the account would be used to send money to an adult film actress, adding that his bank, First Republic, avoided financing the adult-entertainment sector.

Farro said that Cohen added $131,000 to an account for Essential Consultants LLC using a home equity line of credit.

Apr 30, 10:04 AM
Judge warns Trump could be jailed for further violations

In the paper order explaining his ruling holding Trump in contempt for his violations of the case’s limited gag order, Judge Merchan warned Trump that he could be locked up if he continues to willfully violate the order.

“Defendant is hereby warned that the Court will not tolerate continued willful violations of its lawful orders and that if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances, it will impose an incarceratory punishment,” Merchan wrote in his order.

Merchan wrote that Trump has until 2:15 p.m. ET today to remove posts violating the order from his social media account and campaign website. Trump has until close of business on Friday to submit the $9,000 penalty Merchan levied against him.

Apr 30, 10:00 AM
Judge orders Trump to pay gag order fine by Friday

After Judge Merchan fined Trump a total of $9,000 for nine violations of the case’s limited gag order, Trump was ordered to pay the fine by the close of business this Friday.

Merchan also ordered Trump to remove the posts from his Truth Social account and campaign website by 2:15 p.m. today.

Before resuming Gary Farro’s direct examination, Judge Merchan also informed the parties that Trump will be able to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation in May, as Trump had requested.

“I don’t think the May 17 date is the problem, so Mr. Trump can certainly attend that day, attend his son’s graduation,” Merchan said.

Apr 30, 9:49 AM
Judge fines Trump $9,000 for violating limited gag order

Judge Juan Merchan has ruled that Donald Trump repeatedly violated the limited gag order imposed by the court.

The judge found that prosecutors “met their burden” to show several contempt motions.

Trump will be fined $1,000 for each of the nine violations, Merchan said, and will be ordered to pay a total of $9,000.

Apr 30, 9:31 AM
Trump enters courtroom with son Eric

Former President Trump has entered the courtroom with his son Eric Trump.

Eric Trump frequently attended last year’s New York civil fraud trial, but today marks his first time attending his father’s criminal hush money trial.

Trump’s campaign staff and advisers have attended the criminal trial over the last two weeks, but Eric Trump is the only Trump family member to attend the proceedings.

Susie Wiles, Trump’s top campaign adviser who is helping lead his presidential campaign, is also in the courtroom with him, marking the first time she has been spotted in court.

Apr 30, 9:26 AM
Prosecutors have arrived

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office have entered the courtroom.

Prosecutors Joshua Steinglass, Becky Mangold, and Matthew Colangelo are seated at counsel table.

Former President Trump and his counsel are on their way in.

Apr 30, 8:15 AM
Michael Cohen’s banker testified Friday about Cohen’s LLCs

On his first day on the stand Friday, banker Gary Farro told jurors that he was assigned to work with Michael Cohen in 2015 after one of Farro’s colleagues left First Republic Bank, and that in October 2016 Cohen frantically attempted to open an account for a new business called Resolution Consultants LLC.

Prosecutors allege that Cohen intended to use that account to transfer $125,000 to National Enquirer parent AMI for the rights to Playboy playmate Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair with Trump, but the deal fell through after publisher David Pecker consulted with his attorneys.

“I am not going forward. It is a bad idea, and I want you to rip up the agreement,” Pecker recounted telling Cohen. “He was very, very, angry. Very upset. Screaming, basically, at me.”

Ultimately, Farro said the account for Resolution Consultants LLC was never funded or opened by Cohen; prosecutors allege the account was abandoned along with the deal to reimburse AMI for the McDougal story. Then, said Farro, Cohen sought him out in October 2016 to open a new account for a company called Essential Consultants LLC, which Farro said Cohen described as a real estate consulting company “to collect fees for investment consulting work [Cohen] does for real estate deals.”

According to prosecutors, the day after the account was created, Cohen used it to wire $130,000 to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence ahead of the 2016 election.

Apr 30, 7:35 AM
Michael Cohen’s banker to return to the stand

After a week of testimony from longtime National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial is scheduled to resume this morning with the direct examination of Gary Farro, the one-time banker for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Farro, a former managing director at First Republic Bank, began his testimony on Friday by outlining some of the documents used to allegedly create the shell companies formed by Cohen that are related to two hush-money payments at the center of the case.

Prosecutors have called Farro to authenticate records they hope will prove that Trump falsified business records to hide the reimbursement of Cohen’s hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“Read the documents, the emails, the text messages, the bank statements, the handwritten notes, all of it,” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo asked jurors last week. “It inescapably leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.”

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