Former judge calls Pecker an ‘outstanding’ first witness in Trump trial

Former Florida Judge Jeff Swartz praised ex-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker as an “outstanding” first witness in former President Trump’s hush money trial, stating he was “incredibly credible.”

“I think David Pecker was an outstanding choice for the first witness,” Swartz said during a Saturday appearance on CNN. “He set the stage and he set the whole scene up for the jury.”

“And he was really very good on cross-examination,” he continued. “I don’t think that he actually got impeached in any really serious way. I think that people are going to look at his testimony and start building around it. I think the jury paid attention to him from all accounts, they paid very close attention to him. And I think he was incredibly credible. And I think that that really went a long way for the prosecution.”

Swartz, a law professor, applauded Pecker’s performance during cross-examination, noting that Trump’s lawyers did “very little” to puncture his credibility.

“But when it got really intense, when it was really down to Trump and Hillary [Clinton], who were running for president, things got really intense at AMI, and they ran a lot of stories beyond what they used to run,” Swartz said. “I think that that became pretty clear too that this was part of what needed to be done to help the campaign.”

Pecker was picked as the first witness in Trump’s first criminal trial. His testimony this week, which spanned across four days of the trial, shed more light on the National Enquirer’s role in squashing negative stories about the former president and publishing negative stories about his foes, which oftentimes were not true.

“Did you suppress the stories to help a presidential candidate?” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked during the redirect examination, with the candidate in reference being Trump.

“Yes I did,” Pecker said.

The second witness to take the stand was Rhona Graff, the former president’s longtime executive assistant.

As the prosecutors continue to build their case against the former president, Swartz argued they should “start dealing with more of the records to help with Michael Cohen.”

“I think that they’re also going to start bringing in other people who work basically on the campaign to set the stage again, for what Mr. Trump’s attitude was and his anger that he exhibited, and his fear of things coming out as it related to the campaign and the discussions that took place relating to the campaign that sets the stage for Michael Cohen to finish it off,” he said.

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