Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's N.Y. criminal trial: Who has testified and who hasn't

Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Michael Cohen, former President Trump's onetime fixer, finished testifying on Monday in Trump's New York hush money trial before prosecutors rested their case, allowing the defense to call its first witness.

Why it matters: Prosecutors alleged the 34 felony counts of falsifying business records against Trump pertain to his involvement in hush money payments orchestrated by Cohen to buy adult film actress Stormy Daniels' silence about a claimed affair with Trump before the 2016 election.

  • Trump has denied wrongdoing in the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

State of play: Cohen was a star witness in the case, as he organized and personally paid the $130,000 in hush money eventually paid to Daniels. Prosecutors allege that reimbursement payments to Cohen were falsified by Trump to appear as "legal expenses."

  • In addition to Cohen, the jury has also heard from Daniels, who detailed her alleged sexual affair with Trump in 2006. That encounter lies at the heart of the prosecutors' case.
  • The prosecution argued during opening statements in late April that the alleged falsified business records and other actions amounted to Trump interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Catch up quick: During his testimony, Cohen said Trump had approved of the hush money scheme and was aware that the reimbursement payments would be marked as legal costs.

  • He said the scheme stemmed from Trump's worry that Daniels' story could damage his 2016 presidential campaign while it was still reeling from the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape.
  • During cross-examination, Trump's legal team sought to undercut Cohen's credibility as a witness, attempting to present him as deceitful and seeking revenge on his former boss.

Who has testified:

Hope Hicks: A former top aide in the Trump White House, Hicks took the stand during the second week of testimony and detailed how the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape set off a wave of panic in Trump's campaign.

  • She said Trump told her to deny Daniels' allegations and had claimed that Cohen paid Daniels "out of the goodness of his heart," which she said did not correspond with her understanding of Cohen's character.

David Pecker: The trial's first witness, the former National Enquirer publisher and a longtime friend of the former president, testified for multiple days.

  • Pecker detailed how he would suppress stories critical of Trump, including another alleged affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was the recipient of a second hush money deal alleged by prosecutors.
  • Pecker said he would carry out these "catch and kill" schemes in coordination with Trump by buying exclusive life story rights from people and then burying their stories.
  • Pecker admitted that he knew that the $150,000 hush money payment to McDougal to buy her life story rights and essentially silence her likely went against campaign finance laws because it was coordinated with Trump's political campaign.

Rhona Graff: After Pecker, Trump's former assistant took the stand.

  • Graff, who maintained Trump's contact list, testified that he had contact information for McDougal and Daniels.
  • Prosecutors used Graff's testimony to authenticate Trump's contact list and entries for Daniels and McDougal in the Trump Organization's mail and calendar software.

Gary Farro: Farro, a former senior managing director at First Republic Bank, was a key document witness, as he saw the opening of Essential Consultants, an LLC allegedly used by Cohen to distribute payments in an alleged hush-money scheme in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

  • Farro testified that Cohen, who received a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and other federal crimes, had claimed the LLC was for real estate consulting and marked on an application that it would not be associated with political fundraising or a political action committee.

Robert Browning: Prosecutors' fourth witness was Browning, the executive director of C-SPAN archives.

  • He was called primarily to verify the truth of certain records presented in the case, namely C-SPAN footage of Trump campaign events in 2016 and a news conference in 2017 while Trump was president-elect.
  • In the clips played to the jury, Trump attacked women who had accused him of sexual misconduct. In one instance, he said they only made the accusations against him to hurt his campaign.

Phillip Thompson: After Browning came Thompson, who works for a court reporting company that was involved in recording and transcribing Trump's October 2022 deposition in one of E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against him.

  • Parts of the deposition were shown in the trial, including one clip of Trump verifying that it was him speaking on the "Access Hollywood" tape.

Keith Davidson: Davidson, a Beverly Hills lawyer, had negotiated the Daniels hush money agreement central to the case as well as McDougal's contract with the National Enquirer's parent company.

  • During his testimony, Davidson admitted that he knew that McDougal's deal would help Trump's candidacy and that it was his understanding that the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape was the driving force behind the deal to bury Daniels' story.

Jeffrey McConney: In his testimony, McConney, the former corporate controller at the Trump Organization, described how Cohen was reimbursed for the payments to Daniels.

  • McConney testified that the reimbursement payments to Cohen began in 2017 after Trump was sworn into office and were not reviewed by the Trump Organization's legal department.
  • He said that at least 11 of the payments came directly from Trump's personal bank account and these checks were sent directly to the White House for Trump to sign.

Stormy Daniels: In addition to detailing the alleged affair, Daniels recounted being physically threatened in 2011 in a parking lot after she granted a tell-all interview with a magazine.

  • Daniels also renounced a 2018 statement in which she denied the alleged affair. She said on the witness stand that she did not want to sign the statement because it wasn't true.

Robert Costello: The defense's first witness was Costello, a lawyer who once advised Cohen, though his testimony quickly went off the rails.

  • The judge admonished Costello for his reactions to rulings while on the stand and briefly cleared the courtroom during his testimony.

Who may testify:

Though Trump said he would testify in the trial, the defense indicated it only planned to call two witnesses.

  • Costello was the first witness called to the stand, and it is unknown who the defense might call as what Trump attorney Todd Blanche called "another short witness."
  • Trump has claimed he would testify in the criminal trials against him. He did not follow through with similar claims in 2018 in regards to Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • He testified once during New York's civil fraud lawsuit against him last year, but his lawyers dissuaded further testimony over fears that it would do more harm than good in the case, according to the New York Times.

Go deeper: Trump allies face criminal trials in majority of key 2024 swing states

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional testimony.

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