Top 3 takeaways from Day 6 of Trump's hush money trial

David Pecker testified about his catch-and-kill arrangement with Trump.

Day 6 of former President Trump's criminal hush money trial featured testimony from David Pecker, the veteran tabloid editor, who described in detail the "catch-and-kill" arrangement he struck with Trump and his then-attorney Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential election.

The former president is on trial in New York on felony charges of falsifying business records to hide the reimbursement of a hush money payment Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

Here are the top takeaways from Day 6 of Trump's criminal trial.

Pecker testifies that catch-and-kill started right before 2016 election

David Pecker on Tuesday let jurors in on the secret "catch-and-kill" arrangement that was designed to aid Trump, describing the very first story he "caught and killed" pursuant to his agreement with Trump and Cohen: a false story from a Trump Tower doorman in 2015.

The former National Enquirer publisher described the allegation: that "Donald Trump fathered an illegitimate girl with a maid at Trump Tower."

Pecker testified that he "immediately called Michael Cohen" when his team got wind of those allegations being shopped by the doorman, Dino Sajudin.

Cohen told him it was "absolutely not true" -- but Pecker testified that he ultimately moved forward with buying the exclusive rights to the story for $30,000 so he could "lock it up."

PHOTO: Former  President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Supreme Court  in New York City, April 23 2024.
Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan Supreme Court in New York City, April 23 2024.
Curtis Means/Pool via Reuters

Pecker also revealed that his tabloid had never had a "catch-and-kill" agreement with Trump prior to his candidacy for president -- a key piece of testimony as prosecutors seek to connect Trump's efforts to bury negative stories to his electoral ambitions.

The former Enquirer publisher also testified that his agreement with Trump included the publication acting as a megaphone for Cohen's opposition research on Trump's presidential opponents.

"He would send me information about Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio, and that was the basis for our story, and we would embellish," Pecker testified.

Prosecutors showed the jury a collection of Enquirer headlines that lauded Trump and disparaged his opponents, including "Bungling Surgeon Ben Carson Left Sponge in Patient's Brain" and "Donald Trump blasts Ted Cruz's Dad for Photo with JFK Assassin."

Judge weighs whether to hold Trump in contempt

Before trial proceedings got underway Tuesday, Judge Juan Merchan convened a hearing to address whether Trump had violated the judge's limited gag order by targeting prospective witnesses, including Cohen and Daniels.

Judge Merchan expressed skepticism when Trump attorney Todd Blanche defended Trump's social media posts by saying Trump was only responding to attacks.

"You have presented nothing," Merchan said. "I have asked eight or nine times; show me the exact post he was responding to."

"You're losing all credibility with the court," the judge said.

During and after court on Tuesday, Trump assailed Merchan as a "conflicted judge" who is stripping him of his free-speech rights.

It is not clear when Merchan will rule on prosecutors' contempt motion. If Merchan rules against Trump, the former president would likely face a fine.

But if Trump continues to flout the court's orders, Trump could conceivably be sent to short-term confinement -- a scenario that sources told ABC News the U.S. Secret Service has started making contingency plans for.

Karen McDougal will be addressed next

"Karen McDougal was a Playboy model," Pecker said, recalling how he learned in June 2016 "that there's a Playboy model who is trying to sell a story about a relationship that she had with Donald Trump for a year."

Pecker testified that he immediately called Cohen to inform him, and that "Michael was very agitated."

The former publisher then recounted a phone conversation he himself had with Trump.

"I said I think the story should be purchased and we should buy it," Pecker recalled telling Trump. "Mr. Trump said to me, 'I don't buy stories. Anytime you do anything like this, it always gets out.'"

Ultimately, McDougal was paid $150,000 and promised a series of exercise articles in the publication.

The jury was expected to hear more about McDougal upon Pecker's return to the witness stand Thursday.