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

At Donald J. Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial, his lawyers have insisted he had “nothing to do” with any of the felony charges against him.

But testimony from prosecution witnesses over the last several weeks has called that argument into question, underscoring that Mr. Trump can be obsessive about two all-important aspects of his work: Anything having to do with the media, and anything having to do with his money.

The 34 documents at the heart of the prosecution’s case relate to both obsessions.

The Manhattan district attorney says Mr. Trump orchestrated the disguise of 11 checks, 11 invoices and 12 ledger entries to continue the cover-up of a damaging story, paying his former fixer $420,000 in the process. And the testimony about Mr. Trump’s management style could play a central role as prosecutors seek to convince the jury that there is no world in which Mr. Trump was not tracking the outflow of cash from his accounts.

The prosecutors’ strategy illustrates the risk of a criminal trial for Mr. Trump, one of the most famous men in the world, whose character and habits are familiar even to those who have not tracked his every move. The Manhattan district attorney’s office has accused him of orchestrating the falsification of the 34 documents to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels.

David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer and the trial’s first witness, worked with Mr. Trump for decades, the two men trading favors as each sought to make headlines. Asked about Mr. Trump’s qualities as a businessman, Mr. Pecker described him “as a micromanager from what I saw,” adding that “he looked at all of the aspects of whatever the issue was.”

The prosecutor questioning Mr. Pecker next asked about Mr. Trump’s approach to money. “He was very cautious and very frugal,” Mr. Pecker replied.

Back to top button