Trump NY Criminal Trial, Week 4: The Latest Witness Testimony, Media Reaction, and More

Win McNamee/Pool Photo 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 resumed with the forty-fifth president being held in contempt of court for the second time for violating the controversial gag order against him. The judge once again fined Trump and threatened jail time if he did not comply.

Witness testimony, meanwhile, took a salacious turn when adult film star Stormy Daniels, the woman on the receiving end of the payment in question, was questioned for some seven-and-a-half hours over three days about her alleged sexual encounters with Trump nearly two decades ago.

Court adjourned early on Friday with the understanding that the proceedings will continue on Monday with former Trump fixer Michael Cohen – who is supposed to be the prosecution’s star witness – taking the stand. The defense team asked the judge to place a gag order on Cohen, which he declined to do. But Merchan did give the Trump team a win when he directed prosecutors to keep their witness quiet until court resumes.

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 press coverage, and more.

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

The Gag Order

Last Tuesday, Judge Merchan ruled that Trump 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 – nine times. He held him in contempt of court and fined him $9,000.

By Thursday, the judge held another hearing related to the gag order after the prosecution alleged four additional violations. Prosecutors said they were not interested in jail time for Trump but rather a $1,000 maximum fine for each offense.

Merchan handed down his decision on Monday, once again holding the former president in contempt. While the judge found only one of the four allegations from the prosecution credible, he threatened Trump with what could come next. 

“It appears that the $1,000 fines are not serving as a deterrent,” Merchan wrote in his ruling. “The last thing I want to do is to put you in jail. You are the former president of the United States, and possibly the next president as well. There are many reasons why incarceration is truly a last resort for you. So as much as I do not want to propose a jail sanction, that I will, if necessary.”

Megyn called the gag order “unconstitutional,” but she said there is little telling how far the judge will go in this case. “He could put him in jail any day now and there Trump will sit day after day – however long the judge says he has to sit there – as a jailbird, not going to his trial, not campaigning,” she said.

Victor Davis Hanson, author of The End of Everything, believes the circumstances leave the presumptive GOP nominee in an unenviable position. “It’s a hard call for Donald Trump,” he admitted. “Do you just keep talking and protect your First Amendment rights, but then you’re gagged and put in jail? What’s the shelf life on that?”

The Witnesses

How Stormy Daniels’ Testimony Could Torpedo the Prosecution

Megyn is joined by legal experts Julian Epstein and Phil Holloway to talk about the unnecessary details about condoms and sex positions Daniels’ has shared, why the testimony could be prejudicial, the possibility a conviction could get reversed on appeal, Daniels’ claims of being threatened and how the defense pushed back, Daniels’ admitting hates Trump and wants to see him jailed, and more.

Why Stormy Daniels’ Credibility and Experience in the Porn Industry Matter

Megyn is joined by legal experts Arthur Aidala, Mark Eiglarsh, and Phil Holloway to discuss Daniels attempting to claim she felt threatened during her alleged sexual encounter with Trump, her constantly changing story, why her credibility and porn industry experience matter, and more.

A Closer Look at Michael Cohen’s Credibility Ahead of His Testimony

Megyn, Aidala, Eiglarsh, and Holloway discuss Michael Cohen’s shoddy credibility ahead of him getting on the stand Monday, NBC’s “checkbook journalism” hypocrisy, and more.

Legal Analysis

Why the New York Gag Order Is a Violation of Trump’s Free Speech Rights

Megyn is joined by Vivek Ramaswamy, host of The Truth Podcast, to talk about why the gag order against Trump is a violation of his free speech rights, how the possibility of jail time for Trump will backfire on the left, why everyone stating opinions – including Trump – must be protected, and more.

Did Stormy Daniels’ Testimony Backfire and Help Trump’s Defense? 

Megyn is joined by legal experts Arthur Aidala, Mark Eiglarsh, and Phil Holloway to discuss whether Daniels taking the stand helped the prosecution or the defense, her history of writing porn scripts, whether that is relevant, how the jury was reacting inside the courtroom, and more.

The Media

MSNBC and Other Media Embarrass Themselves in Coverage of Sham Trump Trial

Megyn and Hanson discuss Lawrence O’Donnell’s embarrassing comments about making eye contact with Trump in the courtroom, how he is making himself the center of the story, how Hicks’ emotions were psychoanalyzed by pundits, and more.

Vivek Ramaswamy on the Corporate Media’s Ongoing Failures and False ‘Vibe of Authority’

Megyn and Ramaswamy talk about the “vibe of authority” in the corporate media today, how they’re hoping to humiliate Trump, the performative lies they tell, a former NBC and CNN reporter’s absurd description of her recent dinner with MAGA supporters, and more.

A Closer Look at the Media Obsession with Stormy Daniels’ Sleazy Testimony

Megyn is joined by Adam Carolla, creator of Mr. Birchum, to discuss the absurd media obsession with Stormy Daniels’ sleazy testimony, the corporate press hoping Trump gets humiliated, the overuse of the term ‘doctor,’ 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.