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Five conclusions from day 10 of the secret money trial against Donald Trump in New York | Donald Trump News

Former US President Donald Trump has returned to New York City after a day of campaigning, as court proceedings in the historic criminal trial against him resume.

Thursday marked the 10th day of the trial in Manhattan Criminal Court, where Trump is accused of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the midst of the 2016 presidential race.

Those records allegedly pertain to a monetary payment he is accused of making to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence.

Daniels has claimed that she and Trump had an affair, although the former president has denied any sexual relationship between them. She has also denied wrongdoing in the face of criminal charges.

Prosecutors, however, hope to show that Trump intentionally sought to bury stories like Daniels’ to influence the outcome of the 2016 vote, which he ultimately won.

Each week, the trial pauses on Wednesday, and Trump used his day off to campaign in the critical states of Wisconsin and Michigan as he seeks re-election in November.

But even there, far from New York, the trial was evidently on Trump’s mind. “There is no crime. I have a corrupt judge. “He is a totally confrontational judge,” Trump told his supporters at the Wisconsin stop.

However, the former president’s tendency to talk about matters related to the trial was a centerpiece of Thursday’s proceedings, when Judge Juan Merchán began the day with questions about whether Trump had violated his court-imposed gag order.

Here are five takeaways from the day’s proceedings, including testimony from new witnesses:

Donald Trump applauds against a clear blue sky, wearing a red MAGA cap.
Former President Donald Trump took advantage of his day out of court to campaign in Freeland, Michigan, as well as Waukesha, Wisconsin (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

Prosecutors ask for more fines from Trump

Before the midweek recess, prosecutors in the case had pulled off a major coup: Judge Merchan agreed to fine Trump $9,000 for statements he made in violation of a court-imposed gag order.

The order requires Trump to avoid making statements about witnesses, jurors, court staff or other participants in the trial that could intimidate them or otherwise interfere with the case.

But prosecutors indicated they had to review other possible violations of the gag order, and the return to court Thursday began with those accusations.

Four examples were presented to the court. One of them, about National Enquirer editor David Pecker, was quickly dismissed by Judge Merchan.

But Merchan got into a heated exchange with Trump’s defense team over a different comment he made about the makeup of the jury. On April 22, Trump told a right-wing television network that the jury was “95 percent Democrats.”

“I can tell you that it is a very unfair situation,” he said.

While Trump’s defense argued that the televised comment was protected speech, Judge Merchan expressed skepticism.

“You talked about the jury, right?” Merchan said, speaking directly to attorney Todd Blanche. “He said that the jury was 95 percent Democrats and that the jury had been rushed through and the implication was that this is not a fair jury.”

Prosecutors also asked the judge to review comments Trump made in the hallway outside the courtroom, questioning the credibility of key witnesses like his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

“The defendant is talking about the witnesses and the jury in this case, one right here outside this door,” prosecutor Christopher Conroy told the judge. “This is the most critical moment: the moment when the procedure must be protected.”

As of late Thursday, no decision had been made on whether the four comments violated the gag order.

Donald Trump, dressed in a blue suit and yellow tie, waves as he enters a vehicle.
Former President Donald Trump waves after visiting a Manhattan fire station on May 2, after appearing in court (Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo)

Davidson returns to conclude his testimony

Once the argument over the day’s gag order concluded, the trial turned its attention to Keith Davidson, a lawyer who previously represented Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom claim to have had affairs with Trump.

Davidson returned for his second day of testimony, as prosecutors pressed him for details about alleged “catch and kill” plans to suppress negative coverage of Trump during the 2016 presidential race.

Part of his job as lawyer for McDougal and Daniels was to sell the rights to their stories to publications. Davidson previously explained that he contacted the National Enquirer tabloid, only to be redirected to Trump’s personal attorney at the time, Cohen.

In the courtroom Thursday, prosecutors showed text messages Davidson exchanged with a National Enquirer editor on election night in 2016. “What have we done?” Davidson wrote in one.

“This is kind of dark humor,” Davidson said, referring to the text. He added: “There was an understanding that our efforts may have helped Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in some way.”

But the defense team sought to portray Davidson as an unreliable witness whose business was peddling celebrity gossip and raking in big paychecks.

“You were pretty well versed in getting to the line without committing extortion, right?” Trump’s lawyer, Emil Bove, questioned Davidson, who responded, “I had become familiar with the law.”


A new witness takes the stand

The second witness to testify Thursday was district attorney’s forensic analyst Douglas Daus.

He was there to describe the contents of two cellphones that Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, turned over to authorities.

Daus revealed that one of the phones contained 39,745 contacts, an “unusual” number, he told the court.

“I haven’t seen so many contacts on a phone,” he said.

But Daus took the witness stand primarily to authenticate surreptitious recordings Cohen made on his phone, capturing his interactions with his then-client Trump.

Prosecutors presented excerpts of those recordings to the court on Thursday, including a segment in which Trump and Cohen appeared to be discussing hush money payments.

“I need to open a company to transfer all that information about our friend David,” Cohen was recorded saying, referring to David Pecker, editor of the National Enquirer.

Meanwhile, Trump was heard saying: “How much do we have to pay for this? One fifty?”

The two men proceed to discuss the best way to pay the sum: whether in cash or by check.


Judge rejects request to review Trump posts

In the middle of Thursday’s proceedings, one of Trump’s lawyers, Susan Necheles, asked Judge Merchan to review articles that the former president planned to repost on social media.

Necheles referenced the gag order, which prohibits Trump from speaking about certain aspects of the trial. He said the order created ambiguity about what Trump could or could not post on his Truth Social account.

Judge Merchan, however, did not appear to accept the argument. “I think there is no ambiguity in the order,” he responded, rejecting Necheles’ request to pre-approve several articles.

“When in doubt, stay away,” Merchan advised.

Donald Trump walks with two boxes of pizza in his hands and his mouth slightly open.
Former President Donald Trump greets firefighters with two boxes of pizza on May 2, after appearing in court (Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo)

Trump addresses reports that he sleeps in court

Trump was candid about the trial, saying at the end of the day that he was “very happy with the way things are going.”

But on his Truth Social account, he expressed his frustrations with the court proceedings, revisiting past accusations that the trial was a means to derail his re-election prospects.

“These are all corrupt lawsuits against Joe Biden,” he wrote in a post, referring to his likely Democratic opponent in the November election. “ELECTORAL INTERFERENCE!!!”

In another post, he took aim at both the district attorney who brought the case and media reports that suggested he fell asleep during the day-long trial.

“Contrary to what the FAKE NEWS MEDIA says, I do not fall asleep during the corrupt prosecutor’s witch hunt, especially today,” he wrote. “I just close my beautiful blue eyes sometimes, listen intently and take it all in!!!”

Multiple media outlets have reported that Trump was seen closing his eyes and bowing his head during the trial, sometimes with his mouth slightly ajar for several minutes.