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Ex-National Enquirer publisher appears again before grand jury in Trump inquiry

David Pecker, the former publisher of National Enquirer, testified on Monday before the Manhattan grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's role in hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, The New York Times reports.

This is the second time Pecker has appeared before the grand jury, after first testifying in January, the Times reports. In 2016, right before the presidential election, Pecker connected Trump's then-lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to Daniels, after she said she was willing to go public about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump. Cohen worked out an agreement where Daniels signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $130,000, and he was later reimbursed by the Trump Organization. For his role in the matter, Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws.

Pecker and Trump were friends, and before the 2016 election, the National Enquirer's parent company, AMI, paid off former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also said she had an affair with Trump. AMI never published her story, later admitting "that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced in 2018.