Trump trial recap: Stormy Daniels' lawyer testifies, analyst hears Donald Trump, Michael Cohen recording

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Editor's note: This file reflects the new from Donald Trump's New York trial on Thursday, May 2. For the latest news from Trump's hush money trial, please follow our live updates from inside the courtroom for Monday, May 6.

NEW YORK — The 10th day of Donald Trump's hush money trial saw testimony from a pivotal attorney and an analyst as the former president continues to face sweeping criminal charges in New York.

The day began with a hearing over whether Trump has again violated a gag order, followed by more testimony on porn star Stormy Daniels' hush money deal. Judge Juan Merchan already held Trump in criminal contempt Tuesday after concluding Trump committed nine gag order violations.

Later, Keith Davidson, the former lawyer for both Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in their hush money deals, retook the witness stand. Davidson testified that he believes he prepared Daniels' denial in early 2018 of an affair with Trump in The Wall Street Journal, and that the denial was technically accurate because it referred to a sexual or romantic "relationship," rather than merely an encounter.

Significantly for the prosecution, Davidson also texted "What have we done?" to National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard on the night of the 2016 presidential election, because he believed his actions had aided Trump's campaign.

The day ended with computer forensic analyst Douglas Daus on the witness stand. During Daus' testimony, the prosecution played an audio recording between Trump and Cohen, in which they appeared to be discussing a hush money deal.

Catch up with USA TODAY's live updates from inside and outside the Manhattan courtroom:

Trump now suggests he won't testify; blames gag order

As he left the courthouse, Trump suggested he would not testify in the hush money trial because of the gag order imposed on him, even though one decision has nothing to do with the other.

"I'm not allowed to testify; I'm under a gag order ... I guess, right?" Trump told reporters.

Trump also noted that he has appealed the gag order, which does not preclude testimony in open court.

Trump also complained that the gag order inhibits his presidential campaign, and that he is required to attend the trial.

– David Jackson

Court proceedings end for Thursday

Judge Juan Merchan called an end to Thursday's proceedings while computer forensic analyst Douglas Daus was still on the stand. Merchan also said proceedings will end slightly early on Friday, at about 3:45 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. EDT, due to an issue with a juror's schedule.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump lawyer Emil Bove cross-examining forensic analyst

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy ended his questioning of computer forensic analyst Douglas Daus, and Trump lawyer Emil Bove has begun cross-examining Daus.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump asking about 'financing' hush money deal on Cohen audio recording?

The prosecution played an audio recording of a conversation between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, which prosecutors want the jury to believe showed the pair discussing one of the hush money deals tied to Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen said on the recording that he needed to open up a company for the transfer of all of that information "regarding our friend, David."

Prosecutors appear to be suggesting "David" refers to "David Pecker," a former tabloid executive who has already testified to his involvement in hush money deals to help the 2016 Trump campaign. In his opening statement, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo described the call, which also features Trump asking: "So, what do we got to pay for this? 150?" Cohen recorded the call to reassure Pecker that Trump planned to pay the company Pecker headed back for the $150,000 hush money deal with McDougal, according to Colangelo.

Cohen also says on the recording that he has spoken with Allen Weisselberg about how to set it up. Weisselberg used to be the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, and is currently incarcerated for lying in Trump's civil fraud trial in away that supported Trump's defense. "I'm all over that," Cohen adds.

Cohen then brings up "financing" and Trump responds: "What financing?" "We'lI have to pay," Cohen says.

The recording was cut off soon after that statement.

– Aysha Bagchi

Forensic expert describes information on Michael Cohen's phone

Computer forensic analyst Douglas Daus is testifying about various items or pieces of information pulled from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's phone. One item was a photo of Cohen, who appeared to be in the White House press briefing room at the time. Daus also described contact information for various people in Trump's orbit, such as Melania Trump and the Trump 2016 campaign's press secretary, Hope Hicks. Some of the information could be used to bolster Cohen's testimony, if the prosecution calls him to the stand. Hicks is also a potential witness in the case.

– Aysha Bagchi

Fact check: Does Trump simply have closed eyes in courtroom?

Trump posted on Truth Social today that he doesn't fall asleep in the courtroom, but instead just closes his "beautiful blue eyes" sometimes as he listens "intensely."

It's true I've seen him multiple times have his eyes closed for extended periods in the courtroom even when he appears to be awake, including today. On April 26, he had his eyes closed as I counted to 107, with a "Mississippi" in between each number, even though he would occasionally give a slight facial expression or shift his head from left to right.

But I saw him appear sleepy, if not fully asleep, during jury selection on April 19. He dropped his head down repeatedly before lifting it back up, and at one point his mouth went agape as his eyes were closed.

Other reporters have seen similar behavior as well.

– Aysha Bagchi

'I simply close my beautiful blue eyes,' Trump says on Truth Social

In another court claim that is likely to be contested, Trump denies that he has occasionally fallen asleep during this trial.

"I simply close my beautiful blue eyes, sometimes, listen intensely, and take it ALL in!!!" Trump posted on this Truth Social website.

– David Jackson

Trump has eyes closed for extended periods again

Former President Donald Trump has his eyes closed for extended periods again at this trial, although he doesn't appear to be falling asleep at the moment. I counted to 15 "Mississippis" just now before he briefly opened his eyes. He quickly closed them again.

The testimony right now is fairly dry, as computer forensic analyst Douglas Daus describes his background and expertise.

– Aysha Bagchi

Computer forensic analyst testifying

Questioning of Keith Davidson ended, and prosecutor Christopher Conroy called a new witness, Douglas Daus, to the witness stand. Daus said he has worked in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for almost ten years. He said he works in a high-technology analysis unit as a supervising computer forensic analyst.

– Aysha Bagchi

'I hate the fact that we did it,' Trump allegedly said on Stormy Daniels deal

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked Davidson about a comment by Michael Cohen in a conversation with Davidson, which Davidson said Cohen secretly recorded: "I hate the fact that we did it." Davidson said he understood that to be a comment Cohen was saying Trump made when speaking about the settlement with Stormy Daniels.

– Aysha Bagchi

Jury hearing recorded conversation between Davidson and Cohen

The jury is hearing a conversation between Davidson and Michael Cohen that Davidson said Cohen recorded "surreptitiously."

– Aysha Bagchi

Daniels wasn't the one who said election was 'leverage' in hush money deal: Davidson

Trump lawyer Emil Bove's questioning of Davidson left the impression that Stormy Daniels may have said the 2016 presidential election was leverage in her hush money deal. But Davidson confirmed in response to a question by prosecutor Joshua Steinglass that someone else suggested that.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson questioned by prosecutor again

Davidson is being questioned again by prosecutor Joshua Steinglass through a process known as "re-direct," where the side in a legal case that called a witness gets to question the witness again, after the witness has been cross-examined.

– Aysha Bagchi

Cross-examination of Davidson ends

Trump lawyer Emil Bove ended his cross-examination of Keith Davidson somewhat abruptly. He noted toward the end that an agreement in the Stormy Daniels hush money deal had a blank signature spot for "David Dennison," the pseudonym used for Donald Trump.

Davidson spent much of his cross-examination focused on Davidson's deals for clients over his career, which Bove suggested at least raised extortion concerns, regardless of whether they violated extortion laws. He later applied that line of questioning to the Stormy Daniels deal, suggesting the 2016 presidential election was used as leverage to get the hush money.

– Aysha Bagchi

'Sometimes people get settler's remorse': Davidson on Stormy Daniels

At Trump lawyer Emil Bove's prompting, Davidson listened to a recording of a conversation he had with Michael Cohen. Davidson confirmed he said in the conversation, "Sometimes people get settler's remorse." Bove asked if that was a conversation about Stormy Daniels. Davidson expressed some uncertainty at first, but after being pressed, said, "It certainly appears to be, yes."

Davidson spoke in hypothetical terms on the tape, which Bove suggested was deliberately designed to enable Davidson to sit in a chair like the one he is in right now and say, "I'm not sure if I was talking about Stormy Daniels."

Davidson confirmed that, on the tape, he suggested that if things don't turn out the way a person thought they would, and they realize they have a lot more leverage, they try to settle it twice.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson confirms he continued working with Michael Cohen after the Stormy Daniels deal

Trump lawyer Emil Bove's cross-examination of Keith Davidson has resumed. Davidson confirmed he continued working with Michael Cohen after the Stormy Daniels settlement, and that Cohen sent him "a non-paying client." Asked by Bove to confirm the relationship with Cohen wasn't "so horrific" that Davidson would never work with him again, Davidson said: "No, our relationship changed over time."

– Aysha Bagchi

Judge won't give advance rulings on Trump posts of 'legal commentator' articles

Judge Juan Merchan said he won't give advance rulings on whether Trump would violate the gag order by posting articles containing claims about his criminal case by legal commentators. However, he advised Trump defense lawyer Susan Necheles that, when in doubt, the best advice to give her client is to "steer clear."

Necheles raised the issue just after the lunch break, before jurors were in the courtroom. These are all articles President Trump would like to post "on his Truth," she said, presumably referring to his Truth Social platform. However, he has "some concerns" because the articles discuss witnesses and prosecutors. Necheles mentioned Jonathan Turley, a Fox News Media contributor, as one of the commentators.

"There is no ambiguity" in the order, Merchan said. He noted a New York appeals court has found there's nothing wrong with the order. Necheles said the appeals court was ruling in the abstract. "I'm not going to argue with you," Merchan said.

– Aysha Bagchi

Who is Stormy Daniels and what is her real name?

Stormy Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, is an adult film star.

Daniels says she had an affair with Trump in 2006, months after Melania Trump gave birth to Barron Trump. Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen paid her $130,000 to stay quiet about the alleged affair ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

-Kinsey Crowley

Who is Emil Bove?

Emil Bove is one of Trump's criminal defense lawyers, along with Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles. Politico reported he joined the cohort in September 2023.

Bove is a former federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

“Emil is an expert in white collar and CIPA-related litigation and his trial skills are among the best in the business,” Blanche said in a statement provided to Politico.

-Kinsey Crowley

May 2, 2024: Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City. Trump, 77, is accused of falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels just days ahead of the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton.

Trump trial transcripts available online

Trial transcripts and copies of evidence shown to the jury are published online.

Transcripts of proceedings aren't always available, but New York court officials decided to make them available because of "unparalleled public interest."

Many of the transcripts are now available on the New York State Unified Court System's media website. Evidence shown to the jury, including texts, emails, photos and videos, also are available.

Kinsey Crowley

Court announces lunch break

Judge Juan Merchan announced a break for lunch. Trump exited the courtroom at 12:59 p.m. EDT, flanked by his legal team and other assistants. Reporters were allowed to exit while the prosecution remained huddled toward the front of the courtroom.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson asked about Hulk Hogan-related extortion investigation

Bove again asked Davidson about a potential extortion issue related to past work by Davidson that was tied to Hulk Hogan.

Law enforcement investigated a million-dollar blackmail plot that targeted pro wrestler Hulk Hogan in relation to sex tapes, but didn't file charges, ⁠according to a local Tampa news organization, 10Investigates.

Bove asked Davidson to confirm the Tampa Police Department referenced concerns about extortion in relation to an investigation. Davidson said there was an investigation.

Bove noted Davidson wasn't ultimately charged, but asked if that experience gave him familiarity with extortion law. "Perhaps, I don't know," Davidson said.

– Aysha Bagchi

Harsh cross-examination focusing on past Davidson deals for clients

Trump lawyer Emil Bove is asking Davidson aggressive questions about his past representation of clients. Bove asked, for example, if Charlie Sheen paid one of Davidson's clients $2 million. Davidson replied: "I don't recall."

Bove asked if it was fair to say Davidson's memory seems sort of "fuzzy" around some of these issues. Davidson replied that he's had too many clients to remember all the deals, and doesn't remember a settlement from 13 years ago.

Bove also got Davidson to confirm he researched extortion laws years ago to make sure he doesn't cross the line, after dealing with an issue involving Hulk Hogan.

When Bove challenged Davidson's testimony at one point, Davidson said: "You're getting truthful answers, sir," with emphasis on the last word. "I'm not going to discuss confidential matters," Davidson added.

– Aysha Bagchi

'I thought he was gonna kill himself': Davidson describes call, Cohen expressing possibility of becoming U.S. attorney general

Davidson said Michael Cohen sounded so bad during a Dec. 9, 2016 call that he worried Cohen was a danger to himself. "I thought he was gonna kill himself," Davidson said.

Cohen's concern on the call was that he wasn't going to get a position in Trump's presidential administration. Davidson said Cohen had previously raised the possibility of being Trump's chief of staff, or becoming the United States attorney general.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson denies sharing client confidences with Dylan Howard

During earlier testimony in the trial, there was a suggestion that Keith Davidson was a major source for former National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard. Trump lawyer Emil Bove asked Davidson if he was surprised to have been a major source for Howard, even though Davidson used to speak frequently with Howard. Davidson said he was surprised.

Bove asked Davidson to confirm he didn't share information with Howard that was protected by attorney-client privilege. That's correct, Davidson said.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump lawyer Emil Bove begins cross-examining Keith Davidson

After a short break in proceedings, Trump defense lawyer Emil Bove has started questioning Keith Davidson. Davidson negotiated hush money deals for both porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal tied to allegations of sexual affairs with Trump.

"You've never met President Trump, correct?" Bove began by asking. Davidson confirmed that's true.

– Aysha Bagchi

Court on a short break

Judge Juan Merchan announced a short break after the prosecution finished questioning Davidson. Trump's defense team will likely start cross-examining Davidson after the break.

– Aysha Bagchi

Stormy Daniels goes on Jimmy Kimmel Jan. 31, 2018 show

Steinglass and Davidson discussed an interview Stormy Daniels gave for a Jan. 31, 2018 episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!". According to a New York Times transcript of the interview:

Kimmell asked: "Do you have a nondisclosure agreement?"

Daniels responded: "Do I?"

Kimmell asked: "You can’t say whether you have a nondisclosure agreement. But if you didn’t have a nondisclosure agreement, you most certainly could say, ‘I don’t have a nondisclosure agreement.’ Yes?"

Daniels responded: "You’re so smart, Jimmy."

Kimmell asked:  "Have you ever made love to someone whose name rhymes with Lonald Lump?"

Daniels responded: "I’ll call you whatever you want me to call you, baby."

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson claims Daniels Jan. 30, 2018 denial also 'technically true'

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked Davidson about a Jan. 30, 2018 denial Stormy Daniels signed, and Davidson again defended its veracity: "I think it's technically true."

In the statement, Daniels denied "an alleged sexual relationship" with Trump. Davidson testified he didn't believe anyone alleged there was a "relationship" between Daniels and Trump.

– Aysha Bagchi

Jan. 12, 2018 Wall Street Journal article described hush money deal

On Jan. 12, 2018, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled, "Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment for Adult-Film Star’s Silence." The story described the hush money deal just before the 2016 election, requiring Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter between Daniels and Trump. The story cited sources familiar with the matter.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson claims Stormy Daniels' denial of affair 'technically' true

Asked by prosecutor Joshua Steinglass how he would characterize the truthfulness of Stormy Daniels' statement to The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 10, 2018, Davidson said, "Well, I think that this is a tactic that is often times used," and an extremely strict reading of the denial "would technically be true." Davidson added that you have to go through the denial "word-by-word."

Pressed further by Steinglass, Davidson said you'd have to hone in on the definitions of "romantic," "sexual," and "affair."  Daniels denied having had a "sexual and/or romantic affair" in the statement Davidson said he believes he prepared. No one ever alleged that an encounter between Daniels and Trump was "romantic," Davidson testified.

Asked if he understood the letter to be misleading, Davidson said he didn't understand Steinglass' question.

Asked about the truthfulness of Daniels' denial to getting hush money from Trump, Davidson said he would never use the words, "hush money." He would call it "consideration" – a technical legal term that refers to what's given in exchange for something else in a contract.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson 'believes' he prepared Stormy Daniels Jan. 10, 2018 denial of affair

Asked if he prepared a denial Stormy Daniels sent to The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 10, 2018 of any romantic or sexual affair with Donald Trump, Davidson replied: "I believe so."

The statement was lengthy, including Daniels addressing allegations by news outlets that she had a "sexual and/or romantic affair" with Trump many years ago. Daniels said: "I am stating with complete clarity that this is completely false."

Daniels also said: "Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false."

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson denied Trump-Daniels affair in Jan. 10, 2018 comment to Wall Street Journal

Davidson testified he was asked for comment by The Wall Street Journal more than a year after the Daniels-Trump hush money deal on the relationship between Daniels and Trump. Davidson responded to the publication on Jan. 10, 2018:

"Comment: Nothing about the present day regurgitation of these rumors causes us to rethink our prior denial issued in 2011."

The 2011 denial was made to a blog called, "," which published a post about Daniels and Trump that year, Davidson testified.

– Aysha Bagchi

'What have we done?' Davidson texted after Trump won election

"What have we done?" Stormy Daniels' attorney Keith Davidson texted National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard on the night of the 2016 presidential election, according to text messages displayed in the courtroom. "Oh my god," Howard responded.

Davidson testified his message was humor after the polls showed Trump was leading in the election results. Pressed further on what he meant by prosecutor Joshua Steinglass, Davidson said his message reflected his belief that his and Howard's "activities may have in some way" helped Trump's presidential campaign.

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson made $10,000 personally from $130,000 deal

Davidson testified he made $10,000 from Stormy Daniels' hush money deal. He said he dispersed everything except his attorney fee, and did so how Daniels directed. He didn't make clear whether he sent the remaining money directly to Daniels or to someone who did work for her. He said the question asked for him to improperly violate attorney-client privilege.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump referred to as 'David Dennison' in hush money deal

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass displayed a "side letter agreement" dated Oct. 28, 2016 that Davidson confirmed contained the real parties to the hush money settlement. The side letter agreement showed Donald Trump was referred to as "David Dennison" in the hush money deal. Daniels was referred to as "Peggy Peterson."

– Aysha Bagchi

Davidson confirms receiving money in Stormy Daniels hush money deal

Davidson said he did finally receive the $130,000 promised by Michael Cohen as part of the Stormy Daniels hush money deal. Davidson testified on Tuesday that he had begun to doubt they would get the cash, after Cohen missed the deadline.

– Aysha Bagchi

Prosecution witness Keith Davidson resumes testimony

Prosecution witness Keith Davidson, who was a lawyer to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in their hush money deals tied to Trump, has begun testifying. Davidson started testifying on Tuesday, before an off day in the trial on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass is asking Davidson about emails with Michael Cohen about getting paid as part of the Stormy Daniels hush money deal.

– Aysha Bagchi

How is Trump Media stock performing?

At open on May 2, Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. share pricerose to $46.82, up 3.74% from the previous close.

Judge sounds skeptical of defense on Trump jury comments

Before announcing a short break, Judge Merchan discussed with Trump lawyer Todd Blanche whether Trump has violated the gag order's prohibition on Trump making public comments about jurors. Prosecutors say Trump violated the gag order by saying in an interview: "That jury was picked so fast — 95% democrats. ... It's a very unfair situation that I can tell you."

Blanche argued it wasn't a violation because there are constitutional limits on the gag order to protect Trump's speech rights in relation to his presidential campaign. Blanche said his team believes this is a "political persecution" and a "political trial," and that part of their belief is tied to the jurisdiction of the trial.

Merchan didn't seem to have much respect for that argument. Merchan asked again: Did he violate the gag order?

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump responding to attacks on 'his character,' 'viability as a candidate':

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche showed Judge Juan Merchan several examples of former Trump lawyer and potential witness Michael Cohen going after Trump. One of the examples was a post Cohen made on X (formerly Twitter): "Keep whining,  crying and violating the gag order you petulant defendant!"

Trump has been responding to repeated attacks against Trump, including against "his character" and "his viability as a candidate," Blanche said.

– Aysha Bagchi

Judge says Trump's comments on Cohen, Pecker could impact other witnesses

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche complained about alleged violations being raised by prosecutors even when Trump said something "completely neutral" about a witness. Blanche referenced Trump's statements on former tabloid executive David Pecker. Trump said Pecker had been "very nice" while Pecker's testimony was ongoing.

"It's not just about Mr. Pecker," Merchan responded. Merchan said it's also about what all of the other witnesses who may come here see. If they see what Trump says about Pecker or even Mr. Cohen, it affects those witnesses as well, Merchan said.

Merchan added that he understood Blanche's concerns about Cohen, who has targeted Trump in national media appearances. But it's also about what other witnesses observe.

"That does go to the integrity of the proceedings," Merchan said.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump's statements are 'corrosive,' prosecutor argues

Conroy described Trump's statements as "corrosive to this proceeding and to the fair administration of justice."

The statements at issue went after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. There were also positive statements about the prosecution's first witness, former tabloid executive David Pecker, while Pecker's testimony was ongoing. Trump said: "He's been very nice. I mean, he's been — David's been very nice. A nice guy."

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump 'thinks the rules should be different for him': Prosecutor

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy is giving a presentation on the four alleged violations of the gag order by Trump since the prosecution submitted 10 alleged violations in the case – nine of which the judge determined were substantiated.

"The defendant thinks the rules should be different for him," Conroy said about Trump's conduct with the four new allegations.

– Aysha Bagchi

Judge Merchan arrives for gag order hearing

Judge Juan Merchan entered the courtroom at 9:29 a.m. EST for this morning's hearing over whether Trump has violated a gag order an additional four times. The judge already held Trump in criminal contempt earlier this week after finding Trump violated the gag order nine times. Trump was fined $9,000 – the maximum $1,000 fine per violation – and warned future violations could mean jail time.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump gives mini-campaign speech before latest court session

Trump began his latest day in court with a brief campaign speech, attacking Democrats for inflation and campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war, as well the hush money trial itself.

"They have no case," Trump told reporters before entering the courtroom.

The trial resumed after a full day of campaigning by Trump, who held rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan.

"It was quite a day yesterday," Trump said.

-David Jackson

Prosecution enters courtroom

The prosecution team entered the courtroom at 9:21 a.m. EST, just after a group of photographers took photos of Trump at his defense table for about a minute. We are still waiting for the judge.

– Aysha Bagchi

Trump arrives for Day 10 of trial

Former President Donald Trump entered the courtroom at 9:18 a.m. EST, with his line of lawyers following behind him. Lawyer Susan Necheles came in with a big grin.

– Aysha Bagchi

Who is Keith Davidson?

Keith Davidson represented Daniels and McDougal in their deals to stay quiet about alleged affairs with Trump. He began testifying Tuesday, before an off day in the trial on Wednesday, about the hush money deals he negotiated for the two women ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Davidson was asked about text messages he sent during the negotiations that made clear he believed the hush money was aimed at boosting Trump's campaign. "Throw in an ambassadorship for me. I'm thinking Isle of Mann," he texted a tabloid editor while negotiating McDougal's deal. Davidson said on the stand it was a joke, but also that he believed the deal would help Trump's candidacy.

– Aysha Bagchi

What can't Trump say under the gag order?

The gag order prohibits Trump from publicly commenting on witness participation in the case, or on jurors. He is also barred from making public comments about court and prosecution staff, their family members, or the family members of the judge and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, if the comments are meant to significantly interfere with work in the case.– Aysha Bagchi

Why is Trump under a gag order?

In imposing a gag order on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Merchan noted a history of Trump making "inflammatory" statements that created fear in people tied to his legal cases and heightened security needs.

The judge pointed to 16 exhibits submitted by Bragg's office, including election worker Ruby Freeman describing death threats and harassment she faced after Trump accused her and her daughter – also an election worker – of tampering with the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Trump ally Rudy Giuliani is appealing a $148 million jury verdict against him for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the mother-daughter pair and defaming them through his own attacks on their election work.– Aysha Bagchi

What is Trump on trial for?

Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up unlawful interference in the 2016 election through a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Trump falsified the purpose of checks to his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to conceal that he was reimbursing Cohen for paying the hush money and thereby violating federal campaign finance laws. He is facing 34 felony counts.– Aysha Bagchi

Could Trump go to prison?

The 34 felony counts could theoretically send Trump to prison for decades, but several legal experts told USA TODAY a realistic sentence – if Trump were convicted on all counts – ranges from just probation to up to four years in prison.

– Aysha Bagchi

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump trial recap: Stormy Daniels' lawyer takes the stand in hush money case