Trump allies Meadows and Giuliani indicted in Arizona over 2020 election interference as trial resumes: Live

Several of Donald Trump’s allies, including Rudy Giuliani, once again face criminal charges for a spurious effort to overturn 2020 election results.

A grand jury indictment in Arizona names 11 Republicans and redacts the names of several key allies who allegedly joined a failed “fake elector” scheme to falsely certify Mr Trump’s victory in the state.

The indictment arrived hours before the former president’s hush money trial in New York resumes on Thursday with further testimony from a former tabloid mogul who detailed the “catch-and-kill” scheme central to the case.

FormerNational Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified on Tuesday about his agreement with Mr Trump and former attorney Michael Cohen to “kill” stories about the defendant’s alleged affairs.

New York Justice Juan Merchan may also rule on whether Mr Trump should be held in contempt and fined $10,000 for allegedly violating a trial gag order by posting about witnesses and jurors on Truth Social.

In Washington DC, attorneys for the former president will meanwhile deliver oral arguments in front of the US Supreme Court today in support of his “presidential immunity” defence against prosecution, the ultimate outcome of which is likely to prove highly consequential.

Alex Woodward is providing live updates from the courthouse in Manhattan.

Key Points

  • Rudy Giuliani and more than a dozen Trump allies indicted in Arizona for fake elector plot

  • Trump ridicules Bill Barr on Truth Social and launches appalling attack on Joe Biden over Israel

  • Tabloid boss David Pecker to return to witness stand New York hush money trial on Thursday

  • Pecker outlines beginnings of ‘catch-and-kill’ scheme to help 2016 Trump campaign

  • Judge warns Trump lawyers they are ‘losing all credibility’ over gag order breaches

What will happen when Trump’s trial resumes?

12:00 , Alex Woodward

Good morning from outside criminal court in Manhattan.

Testimony from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker left the court on a cliffhanger on Tuesday, as prosecutors were questioning him about several Trump-related catch-and-kill schemes in chronological order, ending with a story from former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Today, we will likely learn more about his discussions with McDougal to keep allegations of her affair silent, before we move on to the Stormy Daniels transactions.

There also could be an opportunity for defence attorneys to cross examine Pecker, who will be on the stand for a third day when he enters the courthouse on Thursday morning.

Prosecutors have not yet shared their plans for the next witness.

New York Judge Juan Merchan could also announce whether he will hold Trump in contempt and fine him for allegedly violating the trial’s gag order.

I’ll be reporting from inside the courtroom starting at 9.30am ET.

Live: Trump meets New Yorkers ahead of hush money trial

11:45 , Joe Sommerlad

You can watch our latest livestream below.

Trump to make surprise campaign stop before arriving at court on Thursday

11:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Wow, he’s really squeezing them in these days isn’t he?

Trump is reportedly visiting the corner of East 48th and Park Avenue, currently a construction site but soon to be the new headquarters of the commercial bank JPMorgan, apparently intending to appeal to the city’s blue collar workers.

Trump named unindicted co-conspirator in Michigan fake electors case

11:40 , Joe Sommerlad

Speaking of Trump, Giuliani and Meadows, they have also been described as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the so-called “fake electors” scheme in Michigan in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, according to courtroom testimony.

Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel announced criminal charges last July against 16 individuals accused of signing certificates falsely declaring that Trump had won the election in that crucial swing state.

Kelly Rissman has the latest on this one.

Trump, Giuliani revealed as unindicted co-conspirators in Michigan fake electors case

Giuliani, Meadows and more Trump allies indicted in fake elector plot

11:00 , Joe Sommerlad

A grand jury has indicted 11 Arizona Republicans and seven others for their role in an alleged scheme to keep Trump in the White House by falsely certifying the state’s 2020 election results as a Biden defeat.

The indictment accuses the group, which includes Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows among its number, of trying to prevent “the lawful transfer of the presidency of the United States, keeping President Donald J Trump in office against the will of Arizona voters, and depriving Arizona voters of their right to vote and have their votes counted.”

Josh Marcus has this report.

Giuliani, Meadows and more Trump allies indicted in Arizona for fake elector plot

New York hush money trial: Michael Cohen vows to gag himself out of respect for proceedings

10:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen announced he has voluntarily “gagged” himself ahead of his expected testimony in the historic hush money trial, where a judge imposed a gag order on the former president for attacking Cohen and others.

“Despite not being the gagged defendant, out of respect for Judge Merchan and the prosecutors, I will cease posting anything about Donald on my X… account or on the Mea Culpa podcast until after my trial testimony,” Cohen wrote on on Wednesday.

“See you all in a month (or more),” he added.

Kelly Rissman reports.

Michael Cohen vows to gag himself during Trump hush money trial

New York hush money trial: Manhattan prosecutors reveal election crime driving Trump’s hush money case

10:00 , Joe Sommerlad

A critical question hovering over Trump’s criminal case in New York is whether prosecutors can convince a jury that the former president’s alleged falsification of business records can be tied to a “primary” crime.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, which – on their own – are misdemeanor offences.

But Manhattan prosecutors have elevated those charges to felonies by tying them to another offence – one that involves a conspiracy to manipulate an election.

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg and his office believe the case is relatively straightforward when it comes to the so-called hush money scheme – there are cheques, business ledgers, emails and text messages that allegedly point to a cover-up to classify payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels as “legal expenses”.

Those charges are bumped up to felonies if they are done with the intent to “commit another crime or to aid or conceal” one.

The crimes at the heart of the case stem from an alleged scheme to bury politically compromising stories involving then-Candidate Trump and his alleged affairs in order to protect his chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.

Here’s more from Alex Woodward.

Manhattan prosecutors reveal election crime driving Trump’s hush money case

The Supreme Court will hear Trump’s ‘presidential immunity’ claim. Here’s what that means

09:30 , Joe Sommerlad

The other major event in Trumpworld today is the US Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on Trump’s iffy “presidential immunity” defence against prosecution.

In what is set to be a landmark ruling from the nation’s highest court, the nine justices will determine if the 45th president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results by making false claims of election fraud, allegedly trying to install fake electors and pressuring former vice president Mike Pence to decertify election results were part of his “official acts” as commander-in-chief and if they are therefore protected from criminal prosecution.

Ariana Baio answers your questions about the historic case before the court convenes this morning.

Supreme Court weighs Trump’s ‘presidential immunity’ claim. Here’s what that means

New York hush money trial: Tabloid boss David Pecker to return to the stand

09:00 , Joe Sommerlad

After a day’s recess on Wednesday, Trump’s hush money trial resumes in Manhattan today, with witness David Pecker expected to return to the stand to tell us more about the sordid world of “chequebook journalism”, where he is set to reach the Stormy Daniels section of his story.

On Tuesday, Pecker, former publisher of The National Enquirer, detailed a secret agreement with Donald Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen to bury politically compromising stories that then-Candiate Trump fathered an illegitimate child and had an affair with a former Playboy model.

That “catch and kill” scheme is central to prosecutors’ argument that Trump “orchestrated” a cover-up to boost his election chances by falsfying business records that recorded hush money payments as “legal expenses.”

David Pecker will be back on the stand this morning.

Here’s Alex Woodward’s report on what he had to say on Tuesday.

Tabloid boss David Pecker lifts curtain on ‘catch and kill’ scheme with Trump

Truth Social: Trump absolutely owns Bill Barr and launches appalling attack on Biden over Israel

08:38 , Joe Sommerlad

You Know Who showed the best and worst of himself on his social network last night, gleefully skewering the rank hypocrisy of his former US attorney general Bill Barr and launching into an appalling attack on Joe Biden in which he refers to the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 as a “peanut” compared to the current pro-Palestinian demonstrations on college campuses and alleges, utterly baselessly and irresponsibly, that the president “HATES Israel and Hates the Jewish people” but “HATES the Palestinians even more”.

Trump on hush money trial gag order: ‘Nothing like this has ever happened before’

08:00 , Alex Woodward

Except it has. To him. Twice.

The former president faces a gag order in his civil fraud trial that prevents him and other parties in the case from publicly attacking court staff and their families. He also faces a gag in his federal election interference case that blocks him from attacks against witnesses, court staff and other lawyers.

Yet Trump is once again lashing out at the gag order in his criminal case in Manhattan where he is forbidden from publicly attacking witnesses and court staff and their families, which he is calling “totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL” in his latest Truth Social post.

“The Gag Order imposed on me, a political candidate running for the highest office in the land, is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Nothing like this has ever happened before,” he wrote on Wednesday.

“The Conflicted Judges friends and party members can say whatever they want about me, but I am not allowed to respond,” he added. “The Trial is Rigged and should never have been allowed to take place on a charge that virtually every legal scholar and expert say is bogus, THERE IS NO CRIME. This is a Political Witch Hunt - ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

New York Justice Juan Merchan is expected to rule on whether the former president can be held in contempt and fined for his attacks against witnesses in the case.

More here:

‘You’re losing all credibility’: Judge scolds Trump attorneys over Truth Social posts

What you missed from Tuesday’s trial

07:00 , Alex Woodward

The second day of trial testimony in Trump’s hush money case continued with David Pecker, the former publisher of the tabloid National Enquirer.

He walked the jury through his relationship with Trump; the arrangement concocted during the 2016 campaign to ensure unflattering stories died; and how that scheme was put into practice — including a plan to bury a bogus story of an alleged affair, which Pecker said could’ve been the magazine’s biggest story since the death of Elvis Presley.

A playmate, a doorman, and a tabloid mogul: Key takeaways from Trump’s day in court

Biden digs at Trump’s ‘bleach’ response to Covid: ‘He missed. It all went to his hair’

04:00 , Alex Woodward

In April 2020, then-President Donald Trump suggested that Covid-19 could be treated with a “disinfectant” by “injection or almost a cleaning” inside the body.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” he said from the White House at the time.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ridiculed his remarks during a campaign speech to union leaders.

“Remember when he was trying to deal with Covid and he said ‘just inject a little bleach in your vein?’ He missed. It all went to his hair,” he said.

“I shouldn’t have said that,” he said to applause and laughter. “You guys are a bad influence on me.”

ICYMI: Trump calls on Georgia judge to dismiss two charges against him in election interference case

03:00 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump’s lawyers are back in Georgia with a motion that calls on the judge overseeing his election interference case to drop two of the charges against him.

Two of the counts against him involve the filing of false documents, which Trump’s attorneys claim can only be filed at the federal level – not in state court.

“The alleged conduct which the state is attempting to prosecute in counts 15 and 27 is addressed by the federal false statement statute and thus jurisdiction is exclusively vested in federal court,” attorney Steve Sadow wrote on Wednesday.

“As such, the state is without jurisdiction or authority to prosecute President Trump when the plain purpose of doing so is to protect the integrity of federal matters,” he added. “The statute at issue here reaches too far and may not be applied to criminalize the conduct alleged in counts 15 and 27. Those counts must be dismissed.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has already dropped three charges against the former president.

Michael Cohen won’t talk about Trump until after he testifies: ‘See you all in a month’

02:30 , Alex Woodward

Michael Cohen is both a crucial witness for the prosecution in Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York and a frequent target of the former president, who is accused of repeatedly violating a trial gag order that blocks him from attacking witnesses.

On Wednesday, one day after a hearing on Trump’s alleged gag order violations, Cohen agreed to gag himself.

“Despite not being the gagged defendant, out of respect for Judge Merchan and the prosecutors, I will cease posting anything about Donald on my X (formerly Twitter) account or on the Mea Culpa Podcast until after my trial testimony,” he wrote.

“See you all in a month (or more).”

Just in: Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows and more than a dozen Trump allies indicted in Arizona for fake elector plot

01:04 , Alex Woodward

A grand jury indicted 11 Arizona Republicans and seven others for their role in an alleged scheme to keep Donald Trump in the White House by falsely certifying the state’s 2020 election results as a Trump win.

The indictment accuses the group of trying to prevent “the lawful transfer of the presidency of the United States, keeping President Donald J. Trump in office against the will of Arizona voters, and depriving Arizona voters of their right to vote and have their votes counted.”

"We conducted a thorough and professional investigation over the past 13 months into the fake electors scheme in our state," Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a video on Wednesday announcing the charges. "I understand for some of you today didn’t come fast enough. And I know I’ll be criticized by others for conducting this investigation at all. But as I’ve stated before, and we’ll say here again, today, I will not allow American democracy to be undermined."

Giuliani, Meadows and more Trump allies indicted in Arizona for fake elector plot

Judge denies Team Trump’s ‘overbroad’ attempts to get evidence from Stormy Daniels and others

01:00 , Alex Woodward

New York Justice Juan Merchan has denied a motion from Donald Trump’s attorneys to subpoena adult film star Stormy Daniels for materials related to her documentary – as well as his lawyer’s demands for communications from Michael Cohen and others.

In an order on Tuesday, Judge Merchan called the requests “overbroad” and outside the bounds of the case at hand.

A request for “all documents relating to communications” with “Michael Cohen or his representatives; Karen McDougal; E Jean Caroll; Jessica Leeds; or Natasha Stoynoff” also was rejected as “overbroad” and “not limited to the subject matter” of the hush money case.

Breaking: Arizona grand jury indicts Trump allies and fake electors for 2020 scheme to overturn election results

Thursday 25 April 2024 00:37 , Alex Woodward

A state grand jury in Arizona has returned indictments against Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows and 11 so-called “fake electors” as part of an ongoing investigation into a failed scheme to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

One month after the election, 11 Trump-supporting Republicans convened at the state’s GOP headquarters in Phoenix to sign certificates claiming the state’s electoral college votes.

Rudy Giuliani appears to be among the defendants, though his name is redacted. He is described as a person “often identified as ‘the Mayor’” who “spread false claims of election fraud in Arizona and nationally shortly after November 3, 2020.”

The grand jury indictment includes former state GOP chair Kelli Ward as well asTyler Bowyer, Nancy Cottle, Jacob Hoffman, Anthony Kern, James Lamon, Robert Montgomery, Samuel Moorhead, Lorraine Pellegrino, Gregory Safsten, and Michael Ward.

At least four Trump allied attorneys also were indicted, as well as chief of staff Mark Meadows, whose name is also redacted.

The charges include fraud, forgery, and conspiracy.

Trump also is listed as an unindicted coconspirator, though his name also is redacted.

Biden on Trump: ‘He learned that telling people you’re fired was something to laugh about'

Thursday 25 April 2024 00:00 , Alex Woodward

In his remarks during a campaign event to the North America’s Building Trade Union National Legislative Conference in Washington, President Joe Biden said of his rival Donald Trump: “The guy has never worked a day in the working man’s boots”

“He learned that telling people you’re fired was something to laugh about,” the president told the group of union workers and organisers.

“Not my household, not my neighbourhood,” he added. “I guess that’s how you look at the world from Mar-a-Lago where Trump and his rich friends embrace the same failed trickle-down policies that have failed working class families and union families for over 40 years.”

 (AP)
(AP)

The Nixon rulings at the centre of Trump’s Supreme Court immunity case

Wednesday 24 April 2024 23:30 , Alex Woodward

Whether Donald Trump has immunity from criminal prosecution will be debated by US Supreme Court justices on Thursday, and both the former president and special counsel Jack Smith have cited court cases involving former president Richard Nixon to make their points.

But the two sides are using the Nixon cases to push opposing arguments.

Ariana Baio has more on the historic case before the nation’s highest court:

The Nixon rulings at the centre of Trump’s Supreme Court immunity case

Chris Christie suggests Americans are ‘stupid’ for nominating Trump and Biden

Wednesday 24 April 2024 23:00 , Alex Woodward

Former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie is “not voting for Trump under any circumstances,” but he won’t be voting for Joe Biden, either.

In an interview with The Washington Post’s Lee Ann Caldwell at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics on Tuesday night, Christie said that he is “not voting for Trump, because I know him too well, and he is wholly unfit to be president of the United States in every way you think.”

“There’ll be no one around to put guardrails up, and he will be on the vendetta tour against all enemies that he perceives. And that’s a scary thing for the country,” he added.

But President Biden “is past the sell-by date. Seriously, look at him,” he said.

“If the American people are stupid enough to nominate these two guys, doesn’t mean I have to be stupid, too,” he added.

Christie won’t say who he is voting for, and he even admitted that supporting a third-party candidate would ultimately support Trump. But he is casting his ballot from solidly Democratic New Jersey, a state that will not determine the presidency.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Report: Donald Jr and Eric will lead loyalty tests for Trump transition team

Wednesday 24 April 2024 22:00 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are reportedly tasked with leading a transition team for a potential Trump White House to “focus on vetting potential officials and staffers for ideology and loyalty,” according to Axios.

The oldest Trump brother wants “to keep the John Boltons of the world outside a second Trump administration,” Axios quoted one person close to Trump Jr, pointing to a former senior official who later joined a chorus of offficials who have publicly criticized their former boss.

“The groups’ aim has been to pre-vet potential contenders for Cabinet-level and lower staff positions to aid Donald Trump’s desire to remake the government in his image – without the resistance he faced from career civil servants and some Republicans during his presidency,” Axios reported.

Both men are co-defendants in a sprawling civil fraud case in New York, where their father is on the hook for tens of millions of dollars. They were each ordered to pay $4m.

 (AP)
(AP)

Trump, Giuliani, Meadows and Ellis are unindicted co-conspirators in Michigan’s fake elector case, investigators reveal

Wednesday 24 April 2024 21:30 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump-allied attorney Jenna Ellis have been named as unindicted co-conspirators in a Michigan case targeting a 2020 plot to replace the state’s electoral votes with votes for Trump despite losing the state to Joe Biden.

During a preliminary hearing in the case on Wednesday, state investigators revealed that the former president and his chief allies are implicated in the alleged scheme.

The outcomes of presidential elections rest on slates of electors who decide their votes based on the outcome of their states’ popular vote. As then-President Trump sought a spurious legal effort to reject the outcome, his allies arranged slates of “alternate” electors in several states to cast their votes for him, despite his loss.

Last year, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged 16 Republicans in the state who signed certificates falsely declaring that Trump won the 2020 presidential election.

Nessel dismissed charges against one of the defendants in October in exchange for cooperating with the case. The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Giuliani’s political adviser Ted Goodman said in a statement that the former Trump attorney who joined a spurious legal battle to overturn election results is “proud to stand up for the countless Americans who raised legitimate concerns surrounding” the election. “He won’t be bullied or pressured into silence by highly partisan actors,” he added.

Manhattan prosecutors reveal election crime driving Trump’s hush money case

Wednesday 24 April 2024 21:05 , Alex Woodward

A critical question hovering over Donald Trump’s criminal case in New York is whether prosecutors can convince a jury that the former president’s alleged falsification of business records are tied to a “primary” crime.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, which – on their own – are misdemeanor offences.

But Manhattan prosecutors have elevated those charges to felonies by tying them to another offence – one that involves a conspiracy to manipulate an election.

Prosecutors began outlining those “other” crimes in court filings one month after Mr Trump was indicted last year. Justice Juan Merchan allowed them to move forward on three of them.

On Tuesday, prosecutors introduced one in court, suggesting t hat Trump falsified those business records with the intent to commit or conceal a conspiracy to “promote” his election through “unlawful means”.

More on prosecutors’ strategy here:

Manhattan prosecutors reveal election crime driving Trump’s hush money case

Michael Cohen won’t talk about Trump until after he testifies: ‘See you all in a month'

Wednesday 24 April 2024 20:55 , Alex Woodward

Michael Cohen is both a crucial witness for the prosecution in Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York and a frequent target of the former president, who is accused of repeatedly violating a trial gag order that blocks him from attacking witnesses.

On Wednesday, one day after a hearing on Trump’s alleged gag order violations, Cohen agreed to gag himself.

“Despite not being the gagged defendant, out of respect for Judge Merchan and the prosecutors, I will cease posting anything about Donald on my X (formerly Twitter) account or on the Mea Culpa Podcast until after my trial testimony,” he wrote.

“See you all in a month (or more). “

Just in: Arizona House votes to repeal 1864 near-total abortion ban

Wednesday 24 April 2024 20:41 , Alex Woodward

Arizona’s House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal the state’s 160-year-old anti-abortion law that was set to take effect as early as June.

Arizona House votes to repeal 1864 near-total abortion ban

What will happen when Trump’s trial resumes?

Wednesday 24 April 2024 20:30 , Alex Woodward

Testimony from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker left the court on a cliffhanger on Tuesday, as prosecutors were questioning him about several Trump-related catch-and-kill schemes in chronological order, ending with a story from former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

On Thursday, we will likely learn more about his discussions with McDougal to keep allegations of her affair silent, before we move on to the Stormy Daniels transactions.

There also could be an opportunity for defence attorneys to cross examine Pecker, who will be on the stand for a third day when he enters the courthouse on Thursday morning.

Prosecutors have not yet shared their plans for the next witness.

New York Justice Juan Merchan also could announce whether he will hold Trump in contempt and fine him for allegedly violating the trial’s gag order.

Trump falsely claims ‘thousands’ were turned away from his trial

Wednesday 24 April 2024 20:00 , Alex Woodward

A handful of MAGA flag-waving Trump supporters have assembled in the small park across from the Manhattan criminal court where the former president is on trial.

But on his Truth Social, he has falsely claimed that “thousands” were turned away – despite the park serving as a designated protest area, with support from New York City Police Department officers, who have assembled barricades to cordon off the area specifically for First Amendment-protected activities.

“Thousands of people were turned away from the Courthouse in Lower Manhattan by steel stanchions and police, literally blocks from the tiny side door from where I enter and leave,” he wrote on Truth Social on Tuesday. “It is an armed camp to keep people away.”

Trump claims ‘thousands’ were turned away from trial amid sparse supporter turnout

Read Michael Cohen’s invitation to David Pecker for Trump’s 2016 kickoff: ‘No one deserves to be there more than you’

Wednesday 24 April 2024 19:30 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen invited then-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to Trump Tower on 16 June 2015, when he descended from the golden escalators to launch his presidential campaign.

Jurors were shown the email from Cohen to Pecker during Pecker’s testimony on Tuesday.

“No one deserves to be there more than you,” Cohen writes in the email on 2 June, 2015.

Pecker replied 25 minutes later: “Thank you very much for thinking of me and I will be there.”

Two months after that event, Pecker would return to Trump Tower to come up with a secret “catch and kill” scheme to pay people off and bury politically damning stories about Trump while promoting stories that would help his election chances.

An email from Michael Cohen to then-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker invited him to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign kickoff at Trump Tower. (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)
An email from Michael Cohen to then-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker invited him to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign kickoff at Trump Tower. (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)

Trump calls on Georgia judge to dismiss two charges against him in election interference case

Wednesday 24 April 2024 19:00 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump’s lawyers are back in Georgia with a motion that calls on the judge overseeing his election interference case to drop two of the charges against him.

Two of the counts against him involve the filing of false documents, which Trump’s attorneys claim can only be filed at the federal level – not in state court.

“The alleged conduct which the state is attempting to prosecute in counts 15 and 27 is addressed by the federal false statement statute and thus jurisdiction is exclusively vested in federal court,” attorney Steve Sadow wrote on Wednesday.

“As such, the state is without jurisdiction or authority to prosecute President Trump when the plain purpose of doing so is to protect the integrity of federal matters,” he added. “The statute at issue here reaches too far and may not be applied to criminalize the conduct alleged in counts 15 and 27. Those counts must be dismissed.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has already dropped three charges against the former president.

Chris Christie won’t vote for Biden

Wednesday 24 April 2024 18:45 , Alex Woodward

Former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie is “not voting for Trump under any circumstances,” but he won’t be voting for Joe Biden, either.

In an interview with The Washington Post’s Lee Ann Caldwell at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics on Tuesday night, Christie said that he is “not voting for Trump, because I know him too well, and he is wholly unfit to be president of the United States in every way you think.”

“There’ll be no one around to put guardrails up, and he will be on the vendetta tour against all enemies that he perceives. And that’s a scary thing for the country,” he added.

But President Biden “is past the sell-by date. Seriously, look at him,” he said.

“If the American people are stupid enough to nominate these two guys, doesn’t mean I have to be stupid, too,” he added.

Christie won’t say who he is voting for, and he even admitted that supporting a third-party candidate would ultimately support Trump. But he is casting his ballot from solidly Democratic New Jersey, a state that will not determine the presidency.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Here’s the National Enquirer contract to keep Trump’s doorman quiet

Wednesday 24 April 2024 18:30 , Alex Woodward

Jurors were shown the contract drawn up between the National Enquirer’s publishing company and a Trump Tower doorman who wanted to run a false story about then-candidate Trump fathering “an illegitimate girl with a maid,” according to former American Media Inc chief David Pecker.

Mr Pecker testified that he arranged $30,000 in November 2015 to buy the story, then amended the contract to keep the rights to the story in perpetuity, with no plans to release it.

Dino Sajudin was ultimately released from the contract via email on 9 December, 2016 – more than a year after the initial agreement and one month after Trump’s election victory.

Mr Pecker testified that he was trying to bury “embarrassing” stories involving Trump to improve his election chances.

Former American Media Inc chief David Pecker testified during Donald Trump’s hush money trial that he arranged $30,000 in November 2015 to buy a false story from former Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudi who claimed that then-candidate Trump“fathered an illegitimate girl with a maid.” (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)
Former American Media Inc chief David Pecker testified during Donald Trump’s hush money trial that he arranged $30,000 in November 2015 to buy a false story from former Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudi who claimed that then-candidate Trump“fathered an illegitimate girl with a maid.” (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)
An amendment to a contract between American Media Inc and a former Trump Tower doorman that keeps the rights to a salacious story in perpetuity, with a $1m penalty if the contract is breached. (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)
An amendment to a contract between American Media Inc and a former Trump Tower doorman that keeps the rights to a salacious story in perpetuity, with a $1m penalty if the contract is breached. (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)

Biden digs at Trump’s ‘bleach’ response to Covid: ‘He missed. It all went to his hair'

Wednesday 24 April 2024 18:25 , Alex Woodward

In April 2020, then-President Donald Trump suggested that Covid-19 could be treated with a “disinfectant” by “injection or almost a cleaning” inside the body.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” he said from the White House at the time.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden ridiculed his remarks during a campaign speech to union leaders.

“Remember when he was trying to deal with Covid and he said ‘just inject a little bleach in your vein?’ He missed. It all went to his hair,” he said.

“I shouldn’t have said that,” he said to applause and laughter. “You guys are a bad influence on me.”

Biden hits out at Trump at campaign event: ‘The guy has never worked a day in the working man’s boots'

Wednesday 24 April 2024 18:15 , Alex Woodward

In his remarks during a campaign event to the North America’s Building Trade Union National Legislative Conference in Washington, President Joe Biden said of his rival Donald Trump: “The guy has never worked a day in the working man’s boots”

“He learned that telling people you’re fired was something to laugh about,” the president told the group of union workers and organisers.

“Not my household, not my neighbourhood,” he added. “I guess that’s how you look at the world from Mar-a-Lago where Trump and his rich friends embrace the same failed trickle-down policies that have failed working class families and union families for over 40 years.”

 (AP)
(AP)

Who’s who in Trump’s hush money case?

Wednesday 24 April 2024 18:00 , Alex Woodward

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker is the first witness in Donald Trump’s first criminal trial. Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels also are expected to take the stand within the coming days.

Ariana Baio breaks down the cast of characters in the case:

Meet the key players in Trump’s hush money trial

You can now read the transcripts from the first day of Trump’s trial

Wednesday 24 April 2024 17:30 , Alex Woodward

New York’s court system is uploading daily transcripts of Donald Trump’s criminal trial “to ensure broad and continuous public access to this extraordinarily high-profile case.”

The first transcript from Monday’s hearing – which included trial testimony from David Pecker, the first witness – is now available online.

“With current law restricting the broadcasting of trial proceedings and courtroom space for public spectators very limited, the release of the daily transcripts on the court system’s website is the best way to provide the public a direct view of the proceedings in this historic trial,” Chief Administrative Judge Zayas said in a statement this week.

“This measure is in the interest of the public good and aligns with the court system’s commitment to judicial transparency and its ongoing efforts to enhance public access to, and understanding of, the courts and justice system.”

Transcripts will generally be available within a business day after the hearing.

The Independent will continue to report from the courtroom sharing updates as they happen.

Judge denies Team Trump’s ‘overbroad’ attempts to get evidence from Stormy Daniels and others

Wednesday 24 April 2024 17:00 , Alex Woodward

New York Justice Juan Merchan has denied a motion from Donald Trump’s attorneys to subpoena adult film star Stormy Daniels for materials related to her documentary – as well as his lawyer’s demands for communications from Michael Cohen and others.

In an order on Tuesday, Judge Merchan called the requests “overbroad” and outside the bounds of the case at hand.

A request for “all documents relating to communications” with “Michael Cohen or his representatives; Karen McDougal; E Jean Caroll; Jessica Leeds; or Natasha Stoynoff” also was rejected as “overbroad” and “not limited to the subject matter” of the hush money case.

Key moments from Day Six of Trump’s criminal trial

Wednesday 24 April 2024 16:30 , Alex Woodward

The second day of trial testimony in Trump’s hush money case continued with David Pecker, the former publisher of the tabloid National Enquirer.

He walked the jury through his relationship with Trump; the arrangement concocted during the 2016 campaign to ensure unflattering stories died; and how that scheme was put into practice — including a plan to bury a bogus story of an alleged affair, which Pecker said could’ve been the magazine’s biggest story since the death of Elvis Presley.

A playmate, a doorman, and a tabloid mogul: Key takeaways from Trump’s day in court

Trump on hush money trial gag order: ‘Nothing like this has ever happened before'

Wednesday 24 April 2024 16:00 , Alex Woodward

Except it has. To him. Twice.

The former president faces a gag order in his civil fraud trial that prevents him and other parties in the case from publicly attacking court staff and their families. He also faces a gag in his federal election interference case that blocks him from attacks against witnesses, court staff and other lawyers.

Yet Trump is once again lashing out at the gag order in his criminal case in Manhattan where he is forbidden from publicly attacking witnesses and court staff and their families, which he is calling “totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL” in his latest Truth Social post.

“The Gag Order imposed on me, a political candidate running for the highest office in the land, is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Nothing like this has ever happened before,” he wrote on Wednesday.

“The Conflicted Judges friends and party members can say whatever they want about me, but I am not allowed to respond,” he added. “The Trial is Rigged and should never have been allowed to take place on a charge that virtually every legal scholar and expert say is bogus, THERE IS NO CRIME. This is a Political Witch Hunt - ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

New York Justice Juan Merchan is expected to rule at any point between now and Thursday morning on whether the former president can be held in contempt and fined for his attacks against witnesses in the case.

More here:

‘You’re losing all credibility’: Judge scolds Trump attorneys over Truth Social posts

No trial on Wednesdays

Wednesday 24 April 2024 15:30 , Alex Woodward

Good morning from New York, where Donald Trump’s criminal trial is nearing the end of its second week.

As a reminder, there are no trial days on Wednesdays – for now.

Justice Juan Merchan has scheduled proceedings to begin at 9:30am and wrap at 4:30pm, with some exceptions, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. He anticipates the trial running for five to seven weeks.

But he has mentioned that if the trial is running behind for any reason, he could put Wednesdays on the calendar.

A courtroom sketch depicts New York Justice Juan Merchan watching Donald Trump’s defence attorney Todd Blanche speak in court on 23 April. (REUTERS)
A courtroom sketch depicts New York Justice Juan Merchan watching Donald Trump’s defence attorney Todd Blanche speak in court on 23 April. (REUTERS)

Jon Stewart derides hysterical TV media coverage of Trump trial and gets roasted by Jessica Williams

Wednesday 24 April 2024 14:55 , Joe Sommerlad

The Daily Show host was in fine form this week satirising the breathless TV coverage of the defendant’s daily arrival at court but got well and truly owned by a fellow correspondent over his opposition to “fun”.

Jon Stewart makes fun of Trump trial coverage in Daily Show rant

Marjorie Taylor Greene makes wild claim Democrats want Trump 'murdered in jail’

Wednesday 24 April 2024 14:35 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has wildly claimed, without any evidence, that Democrats want Trump to be “murdered in jail”.

The right-wing lawmaker made the remarks during an interview with Infowars host Alex Jones, in which she suggested that the four criminal cases Trump is facing are an intentional effort by his political rivals to imprison the former president until he dies.

She added that Democrats are also attempting to strip Trump of his presidential Secret Service detail to accomplish their goal.

Yowzer.

Martha McHardy reports.

Marjorie Taylor Greene claims Democrats want Trump to be ‘murdered in jail’

Biden trolls Trump over Bible grift as he slams Florida abortion ban

Wednesday 24 April 2024 14:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Joe Biden mocked Donald Trump for trying to sell “God Bless the USA” Bibles last month and slammed the former president and his 2024 rivel over his abortion record.

The 46th president laid into his predecessor, referring to years-old remarks Trump had made during an interview on MSNBC when he said women who have abortions should be punished and mocking him for endorsing the line of leather-bound Bibles sold by country singer Lee Greenwood.

“He said there has to be punishment for women exercising their reproductive freedom... maybe it’s coming from that Bible he’s trying to sell. I almost wanted to buy one just to see what the hell is in it,” President Biden said during a trip to Florida on Tuesday.

As Trump continues to cool his heels in a New York City courtroom, the president travelled from Washington to Tampa, Florida.

There, he headlined a campaign event focused on rallying women and supporters of reproductive rights just one week before the ban takes effect.

Andrew Feinberg and John Bowden have this report.

Biden trolls Trump over Bible grift as he slams Florida six-week abortion ban

Florida classified documents case: Trump valet Walt Nauta was ‘promised pardon’, FBI papers reveal

Wednesday 24 April 2024 13:55 , Joe Sommerlad

Nauta was reportedly told he would be pardoned during a potential second Trump administration if he was charged with lying to the FBI, according to the bureau’s redacted interviews with a witness known only as “Person 16”.

The valet was charged with precisely that offence in June 2023 and for obstructing the agency's investigation into the classified government documents Trump had stored at Mar-a-Lago after his presidency.

The former president was also charged with obstruction and with mishandling classified national defence information.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Graig Graziosi has more.

Trump valet Walt Nauta was ‘promised a pardon’, FBI papers reveal

Trump describes college pro-Palestine protests as a ‘disgrace’

Wednesday 24 April 2024 13:35 , Joe Sommerlad

The defendant took the time yesterday to blame the eruption of demonstrations on American college campuses against Israel’s actions in Gaza on, you guessed it, Joe Biden.

“He has the wrong tone,” Trump said of his opponent for the presidency.

“He’s got the wrong words. He doesn’t know who he’s backing. And it’s a mess.”

Trump describes college pro-Palestine protests as a ‘disgrace’

Lara Trump appears to promise election interference in November

Wednesday 24 April 2024 13:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump’s daughter-in-law, the new co-chair of the Republican National Committee, got called out by an expert on fascism after appearing to threaten election workers live on Newsmax – not a good look!