Illiberalism · Gilead · Donald Trump · Hush money



Donald Trump
Hush money

Fig. 1. Cartoon by Jesse Duquette, undated, via “Minneapple23” [pseud.] on Imgur, April 1, 2023, fair use.

Fig. 2. Stormy Daniels at Ron Jeremy’s birthday party. Photograph by Luke Ford (, March 10, 2007, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5.

Manhattan [District Attorney] Alvin Bragg told reporters in a news conference after [Donald] Trump’s arraignment that the indictment [for 34 felony counts of falsification of business records] centers on “34 false statements made to cover up [violations of New York election law].”

“These are felony crimes in New York state, no matter who you are. We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct,” he said. . . .

Despite the heavy focus on [Stormy] Daniels before the indictment was unsealed, the charges outline a broad effort to conceal damaging information from voters before and after the 2016 election, including a so-called catch-and-kill scheme to identify, purchase and bury negative stories about Trump.

Other payments identified by the prosecution include $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child Trump fathered out of wedlock and a $150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged that she had a sexual relationship with Trump. American Media Inc., which at the time owned the National Enquirer, has admitted in court to paying sources with allegations that could harm Trump politically to ensure the information they provided would never appear in print.[1]

See also:

Joe Palazzolo, Michael Rothfeld, and Lukas I. Alpert, “National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model’s Affair Allegation,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2016,

Anderson Cooper, “Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump,” CBS News, March 26, 2018,

David Frum, “Trump’s Legal Threats Backfire,” Atlantic, March 26, 2018,

Michael Gerson, “The strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels,” Washington Post, March 26, 2018,

Aaron Blake, “We finally got an answer about whether Trump knew about the Stormy Daniels payment,” Washington Post, March 29, 2018,

Elie Mystal, “Trump Goes On Television, Destroys Two Legal Cases, Will Blame ‘Fake News,’” Above The Law, April 26, 2018,

Philip Rucker, “Trump says for first time that Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels case,” Washington Post, April 26, 2018,

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump’s Stormy Morning on ‘Fox & Friends,'” New Yorker, April 26, 2018,

Staci Zaretsky, “Porn Star Stormy Daniels Files New Defamation Suit Against President Donald Trump,” Above The Law, April 30, 2018,

Jacqueline Thomsen, “Giuliani: Trump reimbursed Cohen for $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels,” Hill, May 2, 2018,

Elie Mystal, “It’s Giuliani Time! Rudy Ritualistically Suicides One Case To Try To Save Trump From Another,” Above The Law, May 2, 2018,

Marlow Stern, “Stormy Daniels’ Penthouse Revelations: On Trump’s Hair, Penis and More,” Daily Beast, May 7, 2018,

Chris Cuomo, Kara Scannell, and Eli Watkins, “CNN obtains secret Trump-Cohen tape,” CNN, July 24, 2018,

Jonathan Turley, “Michael Cohen’s Trump tape problem,” Hill, July 24, 2018,

Timothy L. O’Brien, “New Cohen Tape Surfaces a Bigger Trump Fish,” Bloomberg, July 25, 2018,

Joanna Rothkopf, “Stormy Daniels’s Detailed Description of Donald Trump’s Penis Explains a Lot,” Esquire, September 18, 2018,

Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, “In the Middle of His Official Business, Trump Took the Time to Send Checks to Michael Cohen,” New York Times, March 5, 2019,

Jim Mustian, “National Enquirer owner admits it buried stories for Trump,” Associated Press, December 12, 2018,

Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022,

William K. Rashbaum et al., “Manhattan Prosecutors Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury,” New York Times, January 30, 2023,

Bess Levin, “That Sound You Hear Is Donald Trump Shitting Several Bricks Over Michael Cohen’s Grand Jury Testimony,” Vanity Fair, March 13, 2023,

Jonathan Dienst, “Law enforcement agencies are prepping for a possible Trump indictment as early as next week,” NBC News, March 17, 2023,

Maggie Haberman et al., “Trump Claims His Arrest Is Imminent and Calls for Protests, Echoing Jan. 6,” New York Times, March 18, 2023,

Tom Nichols, “Trump Did It Again,” Atlantic, March 18, 2023,

Joe Palazzolo and Corinne Ramey, “Donald Trump Braces for Potential Charges in N.Y. Hush-Money Case, Calls for Protests,” Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2023,

David Remnick, “The Curtain Rises on Trump’s Legal Dramas,” New Yorker, March 18, 2023,

Hugo Lowell, “Trump in panic mode as he braces for likely charges in Stormy Daniels case,” Guardian, March 19, 2023,

Charlie Savage, “Dissecting Charges That Could Arise From the Trump Investigations,” New York Times, March 19, 2023,

Bess Levin, “Is Donald Trump Going to Prison? And Answers to Every Other Burning Question About His Likely Indictment,” Vanity Fair, March 20, 2023,

Chris Smith, “Alvin Bragg Is Known as a Sharp, Methodical Prosecutor. Can He Handle the Politics of a Trump Indictment?” Vanity Fair, March 22, 2023,

John Wagner and Hannah Allam, “Trump warns of ‘potential death & destruction’ if he’s charged in hush-money case,” Washington Post, March 24, 2023,

Eriq Gardner, “Trump’s Jail Odds & Biden’s Diary Fallout,” Puck, March 27, 2023,

Bess Levin, “Report: Melania Trump Is Still Pissed About Stormy Daniels, Has No Sympathy About Trump Facing Prison Time,” Vanity Fair, March 27, 2023,

Ron Kampeas, “In American first, Manhattan jury indicts Donald Trump, who promptly invokes Soros,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 30, 2023,

Bess Levin, “Grand Jury Votes to Indict Trump: Ex-President’s Odds of Prison Time Just Shot Up,” Vanity Fair, March 30, 2023,

Harry Litman, “Trump’s indictment is a historic first. Here’s why more are likely to follow,” Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2023,

Corinne Ramey and Joe Palazzolo, “Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2023,

David Remnick, “An American Tragedy, Act III,” New Yorker, March 30, 2023,

Perry Stein, “Trump is indicted in N.Y. Here’s what it means and what happens next,” Washington Post, March 30, 2023,

Philip Bump, “On a melodramatic night, Fox News makes room for melodrama king Glenn Beck,” Washington Post, March 31, 2023,

David Gilbert and Mack Lamoureux, “The Far Right Is Calling For Bloody ‘Civil War’ After Trump’s Indictment,” Vice, March 31, 2023,

Kara Scannell et al., “Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts related to business fraud,” CNN, March 31, 2023,

William K. Rashbaum et al., “Donald Trump’s Time-Tested Legal Strategy: Attack and Delay,” New York Times, April 2, 2023,

John Cassidy, “The People v. Donald J. Trump,” New Yorker, April 4, 2023,

Jelani Cobb, “Alvin Bragg, Donald Trump, and the Pursuit of Low-Level Crimes,” Puck, April 4, 2023,

Adam Gabbatt, “Trump gets underwhelming show of support on surreal day in New York,” Guardian, April 4, 2023,

Jacob Gershman and Joe Palazzolo, “Case Against Donald Trump Leaves Defense Ample Openings, Say Legal Authorities,” Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2023,

Sarah D. Wire and Alexandra E. Petri, “Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2023,

Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey, “‘Frustrated and upset,’ Trump goes silent, then seethes,” Washington Post, April 5, 2023,

Jeffrey Bellin, “What Trump’s business fraud charges mean – a former prosecutor explains the 34 felony counts and obstacles ahead for Manhattan’s DA,” Conversation, April 5, 2023,

Adela Suliman, “Who is Karen McDougal and how is she linked to the Trump case?” Washington Post, April 5, 2023,

Jessica Levinson, “Alvin Bragg has some hurdles ahead, but that doesn’t mean he won’t clear them,” MSNBC, April 8, 2023,

Shayna Jacobs and Amy B. Wang, “Manhattan DA sues Rep. Jim Jordan for ‘brazen’ attack on Trump probe,” Washington Post, April 11, 2023,

Caleb Ecarma, “Alvin Bragg Can’t Pretend Jim Jordan Doesn’t Exist Any Longer,” Vanity Fair, April 12, 2023,

Corinne Ramey, “Trump Seeks to Move Hush-Money Case to Federal Court, as New York Judge Signals Early 2024 Trial,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2023,

Larry Neumeister, Jennifer Peltz, and Michael R. Sisak, “Jury finds Trump liable for sexual abuse, awards accuser $5 million,” Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2023,

Margaret Sullivan, “E Jean Carroll won. And Trump can be now portrayed as a sexual abuser,” Guardian, May 10, 2023,

Tori Otten, “On Same Day He’s Arrested, Trump Faces New Legal Troubles for Different Crime,” New Republic, June 13, 2023,

Kara Scannell, “Judge allows E. Jean Carroll to amend her defamation lawsuit to seek more damages against Trump,” CNN, June 13, 2023,

Kara Scannell, “DOJ no longer believes Trump should have immunity from E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit,” CNN, July 11, 2023,

Prem Thakker, “Judge in E. Jean Carroll Case: Yes, Donald Trump Is a Rapist,” New Republic, July 19, 2023,

James Risen, “Stormy Daniels May Have the Last Word on Donald Trump,” Intercept, July 30, 2023,

Kara Scannell, “udge dismisses Trump’s defamation lawsuit against Carroll for statements she made on CNN,” CNN, August 7, 2023,

Tori Otten, “Judge Smacks Down Trump’s Fourth Attempt to Delay E. Jean Carroll Case,” New Republic, August 18, 2023,

Kara Scannell, “Trump is liable in the second E. Jean Carroll defamation case, judge rules; January trial will determine damages,” CNN, September 6, 2023,

Pranshu Verma, “Michael Cohen used fake cases created by AI in bid to end his probation,” Washington Post, December 29, 2023,

Shayna Jacobs, “Judge threatens to throw Trump out of E. Jean Carroll defamation trial,” Washington Post, January 17, 2024,

Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, “Judge Absolutely Kneecaps Trump’s Testimony in E. Jean Carroll Trial,” New Republic, January 25, 2024,

Susie Coen and Edward Helmore, “Donald Trump ordered to pay E Jean Carroll $83m damages in defamation case,” Telegraph, January 26, 2024,

Lloyd Green, “Trump, the ‘law-and-order’ candidate, is an adjudicated fraudster,” Guardian, February 16, 2024,

Jonathan O’Connell, “Hefty fines, penalties will rock Trump family’s business and fortune,” Washington Post, February 16, 2024,

Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs, and Josh Dawsey, “Clock is ticking for Trump to post bonds worth half a billion dollars,” Washington Post, February 25, 2024,

Philip Bump, “This time, Trump’s going to have to pay his own bills,” Washington Post, February 27, 2024,

Tori Otten, “Trump Has a Hilarious New Excuse for Why He Can’t Put Up Bond,” New Republic, February 27, 2024,

Shayna Jacobs, “Trump placed under limited gag order ahead of N.Y. hush money trial,” Washington Post, March 26, 2024,

Hafiz Rashid, “Trump Completely Melts Down Over New Gag Order in Hush Money Trial,” New Republic, April 2, 2024,

Devlin Barrett et al., “Trump’s hush money trial strategy: Deny, delay and denigrate,” Washington Post, April 14, 2024,

Victoria Bekiempis, “Trump rebuked as hush-money trial judge warns against juror intimidation,” Guardian, April 16, 2024,

Kyle Cheney, “The reality of being a criminal defendant on trial finally dawned on Trump. He didn’t take it well,” Politico, April 16, 2024,

  1. [1]Sarah D. Wire and Alexandra E. Petri, “Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case,” Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2023,