Today, I saw on the news that the prosecution in the current criminal case against former President Trump brought in a tabloid publisher to testify that Trump paid him to not publish negative press about him.

Does this have any legal bearing on the case, or is it just for (ironically) the negative press? From what I understand, it is not illegal to pay a publisher to not publish something, since he is neither a public servant nor (as far as I am aware) has any legal duty to publish the story.

  • @Jen I was referring to lawfare as in "the use of the judicial system against one's opponents, often only to attack or condemn a rival" (Wiktionary.com, accessed 4/28/24), not the media organization. Commented Apr 28 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


Is paying a news publisher to not publish negative press about you legal?

Yes. This is not in and of itself illegal, although it can be one part of a larger course of activity that is illegal.

Does this have any legal bearing on the case, or is it just for (ironically) the negative press?

It establishes context and the true reason for payments that were recorded fraudulently in business records.

  • 7
    You should make it more explicit that the case is not about paying his money - it’s about treating personal expenses as business expenses.
    – Dale M
    Commented Apr 27 at 4:57
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    All these “hush money” allegations are completely missing the point. Donald Trump was and is perfectly entitled to pay money from his own pocket to prevent news from coming out (probably not to prevent evidence of crimes to come out). If his company pays instead, that should be treated as income and he should pay income tax on it.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 27 at 14:35
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    @gnasher729 - as long as it is reported as a campaign expenditure, if it is. Commented Apr 28 at 4:43

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