Factbox-David Pecker, ex-publisher of National Enquirer, is first witness in Trump trial

FILE PHOTO: David Pecker, chair and CEO of American Media, speaks at the Shape and Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York

(Reuters) -David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer, is expected on Tuesday to resume testifying as the first witness in the criminal trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump on charges stemming from hush money paid to a porn star.

Pecker, 72, took the witness stand briefly on Monday to speak about the basics of celebrity tabloid journalism, but court ended early for the day because of a juror's medical appointment. On Tuesday, he was certain to be asked about a scheme at the heart of the hush money trial.

Trump, the Republican candidate for president in the Nov. 5 U.S. election, faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up his former lawyer Michael Cohen's $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence before the 2016 election about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies any encounter.

Here's a look at Pecker's role and what he may testify about:

- Pecker was the chief executive of American Media and publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid from 1999 until August 2020.

- He was a longtime friend of Trump who helped cover up potentially damaging stories about the businessman and candidate ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign.

- Pecker, a witness for the prosecution, said on Monday he is testifying pursuant to a subpoena.

- Prosecutors say Pecker met with Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen at Trump Tower in August 2015 to discuss using the National Enquirer to suppress negative stories about Trump by buying exclusive rights to them and never publishing them - a practice known as "catch and kill."

- One of those instances involved former Playboy model Karen McDougal, whom American Media paid $150,000 in 2016 for rights to her story about a months-long affair she says she had with Trump in 2006 and 2007. Prosecutors say Trump promised to reimburse American Media. Trump denies an affair with McDougal.

- Prosecutors say American Media later learned that Daniels was seeking to sell her story, but the tabloid publisher did not pay her off because it had yet to be reimbursed by Trump for the McDougal payment. Cohen then paid Daniels out of his own pocket.

- Prosecutors say Trump falsely recorded his reimbursement to Cohen for the Daniels payment as legal expenses in his New York-based real estate company's books. Trump has denied a sexual encounter with Daniels and said the payment was personal and was not related to the campaign.

- Pecker and American Media provided prosecutors with details about Cohen's payment to Daniels after being subpoenaed by federal investigators in April 2018, according to prosecutors. Pecker was later granted immunity in exchange for testimony about Trump's knowledge of the payment.

- Pecker will also testify that he ran stories in the tabloid to boost Trump's 2016 campaign, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said in his opening statement.

- Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges stemming from the payoff and went to prison for campaign finance violations, among other crimes.

- American Media in 2018 acknowledged paying $150,000 to McDougal as part of an agreement that helped it avoid federal criminal charges.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Luc Cohen; Editing by Howard Goller)