Trump hush money probe ends day without voting after appearance from ex-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker
By Kara Scannell, Lauren del Valle and Jack Forrest, CNN
The Manhattan grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump‘s alleged role in a scheme to pay hush money to an adult film star adjourned Monday without taking a vote on whether to indict Trump, a source familiar with the proceeding told CNN.
The grand jury is next scheduled to meet on Wednesday.
On Monday, it heard from David Pecker, the former head of the company that publishes the National Enquirer.
Pecker, the former chairman of American Media Inc., which publishes the Enquirer, was also seen by CNN producers entering the building around 2 p.m. ET, when the grand jury started, and leaving the building around 3:30 p.m. ET.
Pecker was a central player in the hush money payment scheme. He took on a new role as executive adviser in August 2020 after he and AMI came under campaign finance scrutiny. AMI signed a non-prosecution agreement with prosecutors.
CNN reported in January that Pecker had met with prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office as part of the probe, and previously reported that he had met with prosecutors from the office dating to 2019.
Pecker and another associate had been granted immunity in the federal investigation in return for their grand jury testimony.
According to court documents, an agent for adult film star Stormy Daniels contacted AMI in October 2016 and said that Daniels was willing to go public with her allegations of an affair with Trump. The former president has denied the affair.
Pecker took that information to Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who negotiated with Daniels’ attorney to “purchase [her] silence” for $130,000, the court filings from Cohen’s plea agreement said.
Less than two weeks before the 2020 election, Daniels threatened to take her story elsewhere after Cohen failed to either execute the agreement immediately or pay her. Packer told Cohen at the time that the deal needed to be completed “or it could look awfully bad for everyone,” according to court filings. Cohen then agreed to make the payment and finalize the deal.
At the center of the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case is that $130,000 payment from Cohen to Daniels, which was reimbursed to Cohen by the Trump Organization. The grand jury, which is deciding whether to indict Trump for his alleged role in the scheme, has yet to signal whether the former president will be charged or when those charges could be unveiled.
The relative quietness of the grand jury comes after a frenzy of activity last week.
This story has been updated with additional details.
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.