Trump NY Criminal Trial, Week 3: The Latest Witness Testimony, Legal Analysis, and More

Victor J. Blue/The Washington Post via AP

After months of delays and challenges, The People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump (i.e. the ‘hush money’ trial against former President Donald Trump) began in Manhattan criminal court on April 15.

The trial — which is presided over by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan and is expected to last six to eight weeks — marks the first-ever criminal trial of a former president. This week, witnesses ranging from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker to one-time Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal attorney Keith Davidson to former Trump aide Hope Hicks have taken the stand for questioning, while Judge Merchan held Trump in contempt of court for violating his gag order.

To keep you up to date on everything that is happening in the case, we’ve rounded up the best commentary from Megyn and her guests this week on the witnesses, the legal precedent, and more.

[Editor’s Note: You can catch up on week one and week two of the trial.]

The Gag Order

On Tuesday, Judge Merchan finally issued his ruling on whether or not the former president had violated the gag order that limits what he can say publicly about jurors, witnesses, and “family members of any counsel or staff member,” including the families of Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Prosecutors had alleged 10 violations, and Merchan determined there were nine. Trump was held in contempt of court and fined $9,000. The judge warned that jail time could be next.

By Thursday, Merchan was holding another hearing related to the gag order after the prosecution alleged four additional violations. Prosecutors said they are seeking a $1,000 maximum fine for each offense, but told the judge they are not looking to put Trump in jail.

Merchan has not yet issued a ruling, but he rejected a request by prosecutors to question former Trump about his gag order violations in front of the jury.

The Witnesses

Sleazy Trump Shakedown Exposed with Stormy Daniels’ Lawyer on Stand

Megyn is joined by attorneys Julian Epstein and Lexie Rigden to discuss the sleazy shakedown of Trump that’s being exposed with Daniels’ former lawyer on the stand, why NDAs are not a crime, how former President Bill Clinton’s scandals were treated differently than Trump’s by the press, and more.

Stormy Daniels’ Former Lawyer Hammered by Trump Defense Team in Cross-Examination

Megyn is joined by the hosts of The Fifth Column – Kmele Foster, Michael Moynihan, and Matt Welch – to discuss the fiery exchanges between Trump’s lawyer and Daniels’ former attorney during cross-examination, what Megyn thinks will happen with the trial, and more.

Hope Hicks Testifies

On Friday, prosecutors called Hope Hicks, who worked as Trump’s press secretary during the 2016 campaign and went on to serve as his White House communications director, to the witness stand. According to reports, she looked visibly uncomfortable after taking the stand and admitted to the jury that she was “really nervous.” At one point, she appeared to get emotional and briefly left the courtroom.

She testified that she told Trump four days before the 2016 election that The Wall Street Journal would be publishing a report with details of Daniels’ claims. “He wanted to make sure that there was a denial of any kind of relationship,” she testified. She also said that Trump did not want newspapers delivered to his home that morning to shield his family from the story.

When asked by defense attorney Emile Bove about the impact on his family and whether he expressed concern over it, Hicks responded, “Absolutely … I don’t think he wanted anyone in his family to be hurt or embarrassed about anything on the campaign. He wanted them to be proud of him.”

Hicks made it clear that Michael Cohen, who is also expected to be called as a witness was largely out of the loop on day-to-day campaign strategy though he would do things at a voluntary capacity. She agreed with the Bove’s assessment that Cohen’s meddling would sometimes frustrate the campaign stand. “He used to like to call himself ‘Mr. Fix It’, but it was only because he first broke it,” she said.

Legal Analysis

How a Biased NYC Trial Judge Is Setting Trump Up for a Conviction

Megyn is joined by National Review’s Andy McCarthy to discuss the biased way Judge Merchan is setting Trump up to be convicted via his rulings, Bragg’s bizarre prosecution strategy, his lack of authority to enforce federal election law, why “conspiracy to steal an election” doesn’t exist, and more.

Why It Doesn’t Matter Legally if Trump Paid Stormy Daniels to Influence the Election

Megyn is joined by National Review’s Andy McCarthy to discuss why it shouldn’t matter legally if Trump paid Daniels in an effort to influence the 2016 election, how intent doesn’t matter when it comes to what is a campaign finance violation, the prosecution’s misrepresentation of why Michael Cohen actually went to jail, the judge blocking key details from the jury, and more.

The Media

Left and Media Freak Out, Again, Over Trump’s Time Magazine Profile and Sham Trial

Megyn is joined by Batya Ungar-Sargon, author of Second Class, to discuss the media obsession with the Donald Trump’s absurd New York criminal trial, the freakout over the former president’s new profile in Time Magazine, the ridiculous comparisons of Trump to Adolf Hitler on the left, and more.

Yes, Trump Standing Criminal Trial Is ‘Abnormal’… But This Is Why the Left Is to Blame

Megyn is joined by Michael Knowles, host of The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles Show, to discuss George Stephanopoulos and the press highlighting the “abnormal” criminal trial of Donald Trump, why the left and the media are actually to blame for the loss of ‘norms,’ how the trial affects the Trump campaign and the 2024 election, and more.

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to The Megyn Kelly Show on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch the program  live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.