NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — The third week of testimony in Donald Trump’s hush money trial wraps Friday as prosecutors prepare for their most crucial witness: Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney.

Trump’s attorneys pushed for a mistrial Thursday over the details given in testimony by Stormy Daniels, a former adult film actor and director who related her story of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

But Judge Juan M. Merchan denied that request, as he did an earlier motion to mistrial.

Other witnesses this week were Rebecca Manochio, a junior bookkeeper for the Trump Organization; Tracey Menzies, a senior vice president with HarperCollins Publishers; and Madeleine Westerhout, a former personal secretary to Trump.

The charges focus on whether hush money payments made on his behalf were an effort to protect his reputation and family — or the Republican candidate’s campaign leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump served as president from 2017-2021; and is running again as the leading Republican candidate in this year’s election.

Meanwhile, as the threat of jail looms over Trump following repeated gag order violations, his attorneys are fighting the judge’s order and seeking a prompt decision in an appeals court.

If that court refuses to lift the gag order, Trump’s lawyers want permission to take their appeal to the state’s high court.

Background on the Case


The hush money case, formally known as People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump, is the first of four criminal investigations pending against the former president to go to trial.

The 34 felony counts of falsifying business records involve a series of incidents and conversations that took place when Trump ran in 2016 for what became a successful election attempt to the White House. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. 

The trial itself is expected to last a few weeks. There are usually no sessions on Wednesdays because of the judge’s schedule. There will be no court on May 17 so Trump can attend the high school graduation for his son Barron; and no court on May 24 to allow travel plans that were already made for the Memorial Day holiday.

Media Coverage Rules


New York state rules do not allow TV cameras during courtroom hearings;.

There is an overflow room where news media can watch the proceedings live via monitor, but visitors are prohibited from recording and photography in the overflow space.

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