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Trump Election Fraud Case Takes Bizarre Turn

In New York, during the ongoing hush money trial involving former President Donald Trump, the former editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, Dylan Howard, was discussed in terms of a potential pardon for “electoral fraud” in 2016. This was revealed through text messages read aloud in court, which were exchanged between Howard and a family member.

In these texts, Howard discussed his trip to California in 2016 to meet with ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump. A family member questioned Howard’s need to travel if he did not intend to publish the story, to which Howard replied that possessing information was “powerful.”

Additionally, Howard suggested in a separate message that he might receive a presidential pardon if Trump were victorious in the 2016 election, although there was no indication that Trump had promised or discussed such a pardon.

The conversation about these text messages occurred outside the presence of the jury, as Judge Juan Merchan deliberated on whether to allow them as evidence. Merchan decided to exclude these messages temporarily, citing them as personal communications rather than business records, though he mentioned he would further review relevant case law.

The prosecution argues that an agreement to suppress damaging news about Trump by David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, improperly influenced the 2016 election. This discussion emerged amid testimony by Pecker, who detailed operations to suppress stories about McDougal, adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and a Trump Tower doorman—efforts meant to prevent any negative impact on Trump’s presidential campaign.

Pecker testified that he coordinated with Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to buy and withhold McDougal’s story through a “catch-and-kill” strategy, ensuring it would never be published and thus protect Trump’s image and campaign. He emphasized that the purpose was not just to avoid embarrassing Trump but also to shield his campaign from potential harm.

This case against Trump, which includes 34 counts of falsifying business records related to payments made to keep Daniels silent about her alleged affair with him, underscores the use of “checkbook journalism” to influence public perception and political outcomes.

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