Pecker revealed in granular detail how Trump worked hand-in-hand with the infamous national tabloid to boost his candidacy and, perhaps far more importantly, simultaneously smear his political opponents with shameful lies and innuendo.

“I said what I would do is I would run or publish positive stories about Mr. Trump and I would publish negative stories about his opponents,” Pecker said under oath at Trump’s historic hush-money trial in New York. “I said I would be your eyes and ears because I know that the Trump Organization has a very small staff.”

The highly-anticipated court appearance from Pecker, who was granted immunity in exchange for his candid testimony at the trial, put a floodlight on the dark underbelly of the Enquirer, with the tabloid portrayed in open court as a tawdry publication willfully serving as a political weapon for Trump — truth and basic ethics be damned.

Pecker spoke at length about how he worked with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to “catch and kill” stories that could have damaged the then-candidate, such as former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s allegations of an affair, which the Enquirer paid $130,000 to bury. Pecker said that at the outset of the campaign he believed “there would be a lot of women who would come out to try to sell their stories” about Trump because he was “well known as the most eligible bachelor.”

To that end, Pecker said he served as Trump’s eyes and ears, alerting the then-candidate’s camp to potentially embarrassing stories that hovered on the horizon. In fact, Pecker was so determined to protect Trump that he even purchased a story from Manhattan doorman Dino Sajudin, despite believing it to be bogus. That story, which the Enquirer paid $30,000 for, alleged Trump had fathered an illegitimate child, prompting the tabloid to deploy a team of reporters to chase down the truth. While Pecker eventually determined the story was false, his publication paid five figures for the story anyway.

“If there was any rumors in the marketplace about Mr. Trump or his family or any negative stories that were coming out or things that I heard overall that I would go through, I would call Michael Cohen directly,” Pecker said.

Meanwhile, Pecker worked with Cohen to smear Trump’s Republican rivals in the 2016 primary, including Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. Pecker testified that the Enquirer would “communicate what we were doing at the direction of the article from Michael Cohen,” even sending the then-Trump lawyer PDF copies of the stories in advance.

“He would comment on them, so we would add content based on the information Cohen provided them,” Pecker said.

At times, Pecker said that Cohen went as far as to contact him and direct the Enquirer to attack Trump’s GOP rivals.

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“Michael Cohen would call me and say, ‘We would like you to run a negative article on a certain — let’s say for argument sake — on Ted Cruz, then he — Michael Cohen — would send me information about Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio, and that was the basis of our story and then we would embellish it from there,” Pecker told the courtroom.