Banker who worked with Michael Cohen testifies at Donald Trump's hush money trial

Gary Farro described accounts and an LLC that Cohen used to send payments to Stormy Daniels.
Posted at 9:51 AM, Apr 26, 2024

A banker who worked with Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen was the third witness in Trump's trial over alleged falsified business records in a scheme to influence the 2016 election.

Gary Farro previously worked at First Republic Bank where Cohen did business. On Friday, Farro described Cohen's accounts and explained how he helped Cohen set up limited liability companies, or LLCs.

Farro testified that Cohen said the LLCs would be for real estate purposes. At least one was actually used to ultimately handle A $130,000 payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels.

Earlier in the day, Trump's longtime assistant Rhona Graff was called to testify.

Graff, who has been described as a "gatekeeper" for Trump, worked for him from 1987 until 2021.

According to Graff's testimony, Stormy Daniels may have once visited Trump Tower.

“I have a vague recollection of seeing her in the reception area” one time, Graff said.

When Graff finished her testimony and left the stand Trump stood up and spoke to her. It's not clear what they discussed.

Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker concluded days of testimony Friday as he was cross-examined by attorneys representing Trump.

Pecker first took the witness stand Monday and was questioned by prosecutors, where he claimed that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen provided payments to the National Enquirer to capture and sit on allegedly scandalous stories involving Trump during the run-up to the 2016 election.

On Friday, Pecker was questioned on an alleged arrangement between the National Enquirer and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy playmate who had an alleged relationship with Trump in the 1990s.

Pecker said McDougal was looking to restart her career and was interested in using National Enquirer parent company AMI to help her. Pecker testified that AMI agreed to pay her $150,000, but that cash was for a legitimate business arrangement.

But during a redirection by prosecutors, Pecker admitted that the primary purpose of the payments was to help Trump win the 2016 election.

During his testimony, Pecker revealed that publishing negative stories involving 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton was good for business. He said it was also good for business for the magazine to publish negative stories about Trump's Republican primary opponents in 2016, namely Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson.

Pecker said it was standard operating procedure to write these stories blasting Trump opponents.

The artist sketch depicts former President Donald Trump's attorney John Sauer, far right, speaking before the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court grills attorneys on Trump's presidential immunity claim

Daniel Lathrop
7:49 AM, Apr 25, 2024

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges Trump tried to conceal an "illegal scheme to influence the 2016 presidential election" by trying to cover up extramarital affairs. Bragg claims Trump falsified records to hide payments to attorney Michael Cohen that were meant for porn actress Stormy Daniels and McDougal, as well as a former doorman at Trump Tower.

The charges Trump faces in New York are considered a Class E felony, the lowest among felony counts in New York. The charges are arguably the least serious among the four criminal cases Trump faces.