National Enquirer Publisher Admits Aiding Trump in 2016

( – The former publisher of National Enquirer, David Pecker, admitted in open court on Tuesday, April 23 that his magazine paid off sources who had unflattering stories about former President Donald Trump in an attempt to keep them from being published by other outlets.

The case is regarding attempts by Trump and his allies to unduly influence the 2016 election by promoting embarrassing stories about Trump’s opponents while keeping negative stories about Trump out of the press. Pecker is one of the lead witnesses for prosecutors in the case, and he admitted in court this week that he would “catch and kill” unflattering pieces of news about Trump, such as stories of him cheating on his wives or fathering children illegitimately.

While under oath, Pecker admitted that he agreed to be Trump’s “eyes and ears” within the media, keeping an eye out for negative press around Trump. Pecker gave details about a $130,000 payment from the National Enquirer to a former Playboy model who alleged an affair between herself and Trump. He also admitted that his magazine paid $30,000 to Manhattan doorman for a story about Trump allegedly fathering a child out of wedlock. Though Pecker believed the story to be untrue, he paid the source for it anyway so it couldn’t be shared to other outlets and generate bad press for the then-presidential candidate.

The 72-year-old former tabloid publisher said in court that a poll by his company in 2015, American Media, Inc (AMI) indicated that 80% of their readers thought Trump should run for president. Pecker admitted he shared that information with Trump privately, who later quoted the poll on The Today Show before saying he was considering running for president. Prosecutors later showed the court an email from Trump associate Michael Cohen to Pecker, inviting him to the be in attendance when Trump formally announced his candidacy.

Pecker’s testimony is a critical part of the 34 felony charges against Trump regarding falsifying business records and paying “hush money.” Trump has pled not guilty to all the charges.

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