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Trump Has Long Been Known as a Micromanager. Prosecutors Are Using It Against Him.

Trump Has Long Been Known as a Micromanager. Prosecutors Are Using It Against Him.


At Donald J. Trump’s Manhattan prison trial, his attorneys have insisted he had “nothing to do” with any of the felony costs in opposition to him.

But testimony from prosecution witnesses over the past a number of weeks has known as that argument into query, underscoring that Mr. Trump could be obsessive about two all-important points of his work: Anything having to do with the media, and something having to do along with his cash.

The 34 paperwork on the coronary heart of the prosecution’s case relate to each obsessions.

The Manhattan district legal professional says Mr. Trump orchestrated the disguise of 11 checks, 11 invoices and 12 ledger entries to proceed the cover-up of a harmful story, paying his former fixer $420,000 within the course of. And the testimony about Mr. Trump’s administration fashion might play a central position as prosecutors search to persuade the jury that there is no such thing as a world wherein Mr. Trump was not monitoring the outflow of money from his accounts.

The prosecutors’ technique illustrates the chance of a prison trial for Mr. Trump, one of the well-known males on this planet, whose character and habits are acquainted even to those that haven’t tracked his each transfer. The Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace has accused him of orchestrating the falsification of the 34 paperwork to cowl up a hush-money fee to a porn star, Stormy Daniels.

David Pecker, the previous writer of The National Enquirer and the trial’s first witness, labored with Mr. Trump for many years, the 2 males buying and selling favors as every sought to make headlines. Asked about Mr. Trump’s qualities as a businessman, Mr. Pecker described him “as a micromanager from what I noticed,” including that “he checked out all the points of regardless of the concern was.”

The prosecutor questioning Mr. Pecker subsequent requested about Mr. Trump’s method to cash. “He was very cautious and really frugal,” Mr. Pecker replied.

The prosecutors have a mountain of corroborating proof, however none that instantly hyperlinks Mr. Trump himself to the scheme. Instead, witness after witness has emphasised a number of the former president’s most well-known traits — a few of which Mr. Trump himself has promoted for many years — eliciting a portrait of a person who prosecutors contend couldn’t have helped however oversee a hush-money fee to keep away from a harmful story.

It is unclear whether or not jurors will settle for that narrative. Only one witness, the previous fixer, Michael D. Cohen, is anticipated to testify to having direct data of Mr. Trump instructing his underlings to falsify paperwork. And one worker, Deborah Tarasoff, has mentioned that Mr. Trump didn’t oversee her work intently, testifying that he usually acted by means of not less than two layers of center administration.

But the courtroom has already heard, from previous associates and former staff, about the best way Mr. Trump’s tendencies knowledgeable the tradition of his firm, the Trump Organization, the place he first honed his administration fashion.

Hope Hicks, a former spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, described it in her testimony as a “very large and profitable firm.” But she famous that it was “actually run like a small household enterprise.”

“Everybody that works there,” she mentioned, “in some sense experiences to Mr. Trump.”

Ms. Tarasoff’s former manager, Jeffrey McConney, advised a narrative which will have happy prosecutors. He mentioned that early in his profession on the Trump Organization, he had walked into the boss’s workplace and Mr. Trump — within the midst of a telephone dialog — had advised him: “You’re fired.”

Once off the telephone, Mr. McConney mentioned, Mr. Trump had taken it again. But he had warned his new worker to look at the accounts intently, noting that the “money balances went down final week.”

“He mentioned, ‘Now concentrate on my payments,’” Mr. McConney recalled. “It was a educating second. Just as a result of any individual is asking for cash, negotiate with them, speak to them.” Don’t simply hand the cash over “mindlessly.”

Mr. McConney’s testimony was corroborated on Tuesday by an uncommon witness: a previous model of Mr. Trump himself.

Sally Franklin, a prime editor for Penguin Random House, was known as to the witness stand to learn aloud passages from two of Mr. Trump’s books wherein he described himself as a fastidious custodian monitoring the trivia of his enterprise.

“I at all times signal my checks, so I do know the place my cash’s going,” he wrote in one of many excerpts learn aloud in courtroom. In one other, Mr. Trump boasted of cashing a verify for 50 cents, despatched by Spy journal as a prank. (Spy Magazine despatched Mr. Trump minuscule checks in reducing quantities, the bottom being 13 cents; none was for 50 cents.)

“They could name that low cost; I name it watching the underside line,” he wrote within the e book. “Every greenback counts in enterprise, and for that matter, each dime. Penny pinching? You guess. I’m all for it.”

Prosecutors hope that will probably be laborious to think about that writer parting with $420,000 with out good cause.

In interviews, former aides mentioned that whereas Mr. Trump’s focus didn’t apply to every little thing, he was attuned to any factor of his enterprise or persona that the general public would possibly see, from visuals to promoting copy to press statements.

Jack O’Donnell, a former Trump on line casino government, recalled Mr. Trump, late one evening, admonishing a upkeep employee who was sprucing the marble flooring at one of many casinos — Mr. Trump advised the employee he was utilizing the improper chemical. Alan Marcus, a former marketing consultant for the Trump Organization, described Mr. Trump offering suggestions on the language of a tv industrial opposing a tunnel undertaking by a on line casino rival in Atlantic City, and on taking the spots down once they turned controversial.

Barbara Res, a former prime Trump Organization government who oversaw a few of Mr. Trump’s most outstanding development initiatives, together with Trump Tower, mentioned that the boss didn’t have any actual data of high-rise development earlier than that undertaking. But she mentioned that when it got here to particular superficial particulars, he typically sought to impose his will.

That included insisting, despite constructing code necessities, that he didn’t need buttons in Braille in his elevators. “He mentioned, ‘We received’t have handicapped individuals dwelling in Trump Tower, so we don’t want that,’” she recalled. The architect engaged on the undertaking overruled him.

Mr. Trump himself described this tendency in one other e book excerpt learn in courtroom, writing: “When you might be working with a decorator, be sure you ask to see all the invoices. Decorators are by nature sincere individuals, however try to be double-checking regardless.”

Ms. Res described a tradition the place Mr. Trump’s needs had been so well-known that individuals would typically do issues to please him with out him saying a phrase, paraphrasing a model of what Mr. Cohen has mentioned.

“We knew Trump so effectively, he didn’t need to say something, we knew what he wished,” Ms. Res mentioned. “I by no means did something unlawful and I finished him from demolishing a constructing with no allow. But others did.”

There have additionally been indications in the course of the trial of Mr. Trump’s tendency to insert himself — to micromanage — when the stakes are excessive. Ms. Hicks, the previous spokeswoman, advised a narrative that hinted at her former boss’s curiosity within the coordination of hush-money funds, even when he didn’t deign to contain himself instantly.

At that point, Mr. Trump, famously, didn’t textual content. But Ms. Hicks did. On the stand, she described a textual content message that she had despatched to Mr. Cohen on Nov. 5, 2016, days earlier than the presidential election. Something had prompted her to ask Mr. Cohen for Mr. Pecker’s telephone quantity — regardless of already having contact info for the writer.

“I’ve it,” she advised Mr. Cohen apologetically. “But Mr. Trump thinks it’s the improper quantity.”

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