NY v. Trump resumes Monday after an eventful third week of testimony, with thousands of dollars in silence order fines

The criminal trial of former President Trump will resume Monday after an eventful third week that saw key witnesses testify and thousands of dollars in fines levied against the presumptive Republican nominee — with the possibility of more fines to come.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of first-degree falsifying corporate records. The charges stem from a yearlong investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

The charges relate to alleged payments made to silence adult film actress Stormy Daniels about an alleged extramarital affair with Trump before the 2016 election.

HOPE HICKS: COHEN CALLED HIMSELF 'MORE. JUST FIX IT BECAUSE HE BREAK IT

Former President Trump and attorneys Emil Bove, left, and Todd Blanche, right, attend his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments in Manhattan Criminal Court on May 3, 2024 in New York City. (Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)

DA Alvin Bragg must convince the jury that Trump not only falsified business records related to hush money payments, but that he did so in furtherance of another crime: a conspiracy to promote or prevent an election.

In themselves, falsifying corporate records and conspiring to promote or prevent elections are crimes.

Prosecutors called a number of witnesses to testify during the third week of the trial, including Keith Davidson, an attorney who once represented Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Davidson said Daniels' denial of an affair with Trump was technically true. He also testified that the money ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid her was not a payout, but a “quid pro quo.”

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference. (Barry Williams for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

Trump's lawyers played audio recordings of Davidson during cross-examination, in which he can be heard admitting that Cohen did not need Trump's permission to make the payment to Stormy Daniels.

NY V. TRUMP: WITNESS SAYS COHEN DREAMED OF WHITE HOUSE JOB DESPITE DENIAL OF AMBITIONS IN HOME TESTIMONY

Before Davidson, the jury heard testimony from Doug Daus, a computer forensics analyst for the district attorney's office, who testified about examining two cellphones belonging to Cohen.

An audio recording was played during Daus' testimony.

“I need to open a company to transfer all this information about our friend David,” Cohen said during the call. 'So I'm going to do that right away. I went there and talked to Allen Weisselberg. …I'm all about that. I've talked to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, it will be-”

Former US President Donald Trump watches as lawyer Keith Davidson is questioned during Trump's criminal trial

A courtroom sketch shows former President Trump as attorney Keith Davidson, who represented former Playboy model Karen McDougal, testifies. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Trump responded: “Listen, what funding?”

HUSH MONEY TRIAL JUDGE DOUBLES FOR FAILING TO SHOW TRUMP 'ACCESS HOLLYWOOD' TAPE TO JURY HOURS

Last week, the jury heard testimony from bank manager Gary Farro, who said he helped Cohen set up an account for Essential Consultants, LLC, the shell company that Bragg claims Cohen made the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.

But Farro testified that there was nothing to indicate the account would be used to make a payment on behalf of a political candidate, to purchase a media story or to pay an adult film actress. Farro testified that if the account had been intended for these matters, there would have been additional scrutiny and delays in opening it, and he conceded that it was possible the account would never have been opened.

Farro also testified that he was unaware the bill was being made on Trump's behalf.

The week concluded with testimony from Hope Hicks, who worked for the Trump Organization and later served as Trump's press secretary during the 2016 presidential campaign. Hicks later served as director of strategic communications in the White House.

Hope Hicks and Michael Cohen

Hope Hicks has convicted former Trump 'fixer' Michael Cohen in court during the criminal trial against Trump (Getty | AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“He knew what he wanted to say and how to say it, and we all just followed his lead,” Hicks said of Trump. “He deserves credit for the agenda.”

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Hicks was asked about the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump's controversial comments that came out in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

Hicks said she was “a little dismayed” when she saw the tape and said it was a “damaging development” for the campaign, adding that it was “obviously not helpful.” But she noted it was two boys talking privately and insisted it was locker room talk not intended to upset anyone.

The 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape came to light ahead of the 2016 election and showed Trump bragging to Billy Bush that he could kiss and grope women because of his star power.

Judge Juan Merchan previously barred the prosecutor from showing the tape to jurors, saying in March: “There is no need for the tape itself to be introduced into evidence or played to the jury.”

Merchan and Trump side by side

Former President Trump and Judge Juan Merchan (Angela Weiss/AFP via AP I Pool/AP)

Hicks also said Trump told her that claims he had an affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal were “unequivocally false.”

Hicks also lambasted Michael Cohen, saying he had no involvement in the 2016 campaign but would try to insert himself at certain points. Hicks said the campaign had its own lawyers and that Cohen was instructed to focus on Trump's private business credentials.

NY V TRUMP: REMAINING ALLEGED GAG ORDER VIOLATIONS PENDING IN BALANCE WHILE TRIAL RESUMES

Hicks said Cohen “liked to call himself Mr. Fix it, but that was only because he broke it the first time.”

Hicks also testified that, regarding the allegations about Stormy Daniels, Trump did not want “anyone in his family to be hurt or embarrassed about anything during the campaign.”

“He wanted them to be proud of him,” she said.

Pornstar Stormy Daniels

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (AP)

Trump was fined $9,000 for violating a court order imposed on him. Judge Merchan must consider four additional alleged violations of the order, which could occur this week.

The former president has labeled the process as rigged and in coordination with President Biden's White House. Trump says the case, and others against him, are “election interference.”

As for the silence order, Trump called it “unconstitutional” and said he will appeal the order, arguing it violates his First Amendment rights. Trump has called on the judge to recuse himself, saying he is “completely conflicted.”

The former president has said Democrats want to keep him confined to the courtroom and off the campaign trail.

Donald Trump outside court in Manhattan

Former President Trump speaks to members of the media as he leaves his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 3, 2024 in New York City (Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images)

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The court does not meet on Wednesdays. Trump has taken advantage of that arrangement, holding rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan last week.

After hours in court last Thursday, Trump delivered pizzas to FDNY firefighters at a downtown Manhattan firehouse to honor first responders.

Maria Paronich and Brianna Herlihy of Fox News contributed to this report.

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