Klasfeld’s reporting is part of Just Security’s Trump Trials Clearinghouse

Jury selection started earlier this week in the first ever criminal trial of a U.S. president. It was an extraordinary historical moment –and yet it followed the same procedures as any other criminal trial.

Justice Juan Merchan read the first cohort of 96 potential jurors the names of people who they might see as witnesses or hear about as key players throughout the trial. That allows the potential jurors to flag for the judge any person who for whatever reason might affect a juror’s ability to serve impartially.

This is an annotated version of the list, which could indicate possible directions for the trial and serve as a cheat sheet for those following the case. It incorporates a similar list contained in the book Trying Trump, a comprehensive guide to the trial recently edited by one of the authors. Using that as a foundation, this piece expands the names and the commentary on them.

The Cast of Characters

  1. Steve Bannon—Bannon served as White House chief strategist in 2017. He was sentenced to federal prison time for contempt of Congress, for failing to comply with a subpoena from the U.S. House of Representatives January 6th Committee. He has so far postponed serving his sentence while he appeals it. He is also the defendant in a New York state prosecution for money laundering, for allegedly pocketing donations he solicited to build a wall on the southern border. Merchan, the judge in this case, is also assigned to Bannon’s criminal case. In 2016, just before The Washington Post broke the “Access Hollywood” tape story regarding Donald Trump discussing lewd acts, the Post emailed Hope Hicks (see below) for comment, who forwarded the email to Bannon, who in turn forwarded it to Michael Cohen (see below).
  2. Sharon Churcher—Churcher is a journalist. In 2011, she broke the stories of the Jane Does who were accusing Jeffrey Epstein of child sex trafficking. During the 2016 election, she was one of the lead American Media, Inc. (“AMI”) reporters tracking the salacious story from Trump’s doorman, Dino Sajudin (see below), that Trump fathered a child out of wedlock.
  3. Stephanie Clifford (also known as Stormy Daniels)—Clifford is “Woman 2” in the statement of facts. Clifford claims she had a sexual relationship with Trump while he was married. According to the statement of facts, AMI CEO David Pecker learned of Clifford’s allegations in October 2016, shortly after an “Access Hollywood” video of Trump discussing lewd acts was aired. Clifford was allegedly paid $130,000 to keep her story out of the press prior to the 2016 presidential election.
  4. Michael Cohen—Cohen is “Lawyer A” in the statement of facts. Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer and facilitated the “catch and kill” scheme on his behalf. In late October 2016, Cohen allegedly set up a shell company to pay Clifford hush money. He allegedly transferred $131,000 from a home equity loan to a bank account for the shell company and then paid Clifford’s lawyer $130,000. Trump allegedly paid Cohen back in a series of checks between February and December 2017—that is, during Trump’s first year in office. Those checks are central to the Manhattan DA’s case, as Trump allegedly falsified business records in New York to cover up the purpose of the monies paid to Cohen. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges, admitting that the hush money payments made to Clifford and McDougal were “intend[ed] to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
  5. Kellyanne ConwayConway was Trump’s campaign manager before serving as Assistant and Senior Counselor to the President from 2017-2020. Conway was allegedly in contact with Cohen the day of the hush money payment to Clifford to confirm its logistics. Cohen wrote in his memoir that Trump “didn’t take” Cohen’s call that the transaction was a success but instead his “old pal” Conway “called and said she’d pass along the good news.”
  6. Robert CostelloCostello is “Lawyer C” in the statement of facts. In April 2018, Costello allegedly approached Cohen and offered to serve as a “back channel of communication” between Cohen and Trump. Costello allegedly followed up in emails claiming Cohen was still in good standing with Trump and encouraging Cohen not to cooperate with authorities investigating the hush money scheme.
  7. Doug Daus—Daus is a computer forensics expert in the High Technology Analysis Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. DA staff often testify about aspects of an investigation in order to help establish elements of a criminal case.
  8. Keith Davidson—Davidson, Clifford’s lawyer, is “Lawyer B” in the statement of facts. He allegedly negotiated the hush money agreement with Cohen, including the $130,000 payment to Clifford.
  9. Sheri Dillon—Dillon is a partner at law firm Morgan Lewis. At the beginning of 2017, she was responsible for sorting out Trump’s conflicts of interest between his business holdings and his obligations as president.
  10. Gary Farro—Farro was, in 2016, a senior managing director at First Republic Bank. Cohen allegedly wired the hush money payment to Stephanie Clifford using First Republic Bank. A so far unnamed individual or individuals at First Republic played known roles in the wire transfer. Someone at First Republic reported the wire transaction as suspicious to the Treasury Department. And, on October 26, 2016, a First Republic employee whose name is publicly redacted confirmed to Cohen that his $130,000 wire to Clifford’s lawyer was successful.
  11. Alan Garten—Garten is Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at the Trump Organization. Garten testified in federal court last summer, when Trump attempted to remove this prosecution from state court to federal court. There, Garten said that “he was not aware of any retainer agreement with Cohen, that Cohen’s invoices did not contain descriptions of the work he did, and that the ledger entries for Cohen similarly did not describe his work… [and] that he did not know if Cohen actually worked on any matters referred to him by the Trump Organization.”
  12. Rudy GiulianiGiuliani, Trump’s former personal attorney, is “Lawyer D” in the statement of facts. In an email on or about April 21, 2018, to Michael Cohen, Robert Costello (“Lawyer C”) allegedly claimed he “had a close relationship with” Giuliani, adding: “[T]his could not be a better situation for the President or you.” Costello was allegedly attempting to convince Cohen not to cooperate with authorities at the time. In an email that same day, Costello allegedly wrote: “I spoke with [Giuliani]. Very Very Positive. You are ‘loved.’ . . . [Giuliani] said this communication channel must be maintained. . . . Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places.”
  13. Rhona Graff—Graff has been Trump’s executive assistant for many decades. She was once quoted in an interview as saying, “Everybody knows in order to get through to him they have to go through me.”
  14. Hope HicksHicks worked for Ivanka Trump at the Trump Organization prior to working as the Trump campaign’s press secretary in the 2016 election. Between January 2017 and March 2018, she served in Trump’s administration as White House Director of Strategic Communications and then as Communications Director, before returning between March 2020 and January 2021 as an Assistant and Counselor to the President. Hicks is believed to have participated in a phone call with both Cohen and Trump in October 2016 on the day that Clifford’s attorney requested a money payment. Records also suggest Hicks spoke with Cohen “several times” before and after calls with AMI. She has stated that she did not have any knowledge of the matter other than what she learned from reporters.
  15. Dylan HowardHoward is the “AMI Editor-in-Chief” in the statement of facts. In or about June 2016, Howard allegedly discussed with Cohen that Karen McDougal (see below) claimed that “she had a sexual relationship with [Trump] while he was married.” Howard updated Cohen “regularly about the matter over text message and by telephone.” 
  16. DeWitt Hutchins—Hutchins is a banker. During the 2016 election, according to his LinkedIn, he was a sales manager at First Republic Bank. For more information about that entity’s role, see number 10 above, Gary Farro.
  17. Marc Kasowitz—Kasowitz is a partner at his eponymous law firm. He has served as Trump’s lawyer in many settings, including during Robert Mueller’s investigation. In October 2016, after The New York Times published sexual assault allegations against Trump, Kasowitz sent the Times a letter demanding a retraction and apology.
  18. Jared Kushner—Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law who was said to be a “quiet fixer” and “de facto campaign manager” in 2016. He later served as senior advisor to Trump in the White House.
  19. Georgia Longstreet-Joseph— Longstreet-Joseph is a paralegal in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
  20. Rebecca Manochio—Manochio is, according to her LinkedIn, an executive assistant at the Trump Organization. From court filings in another case, it appears she may be an assistant to Allen Weisselberg (see below), the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.
  21. Jeffrey McConneyMcConney is the “TO [Trump Organization] Controller” in the statement of facts. Cohen allegedly sent his first invoice to McConney on or about February 14, 2017. McConney then forwarded the invoice to Tarasoff, writing: “Post to legal expenses. Put ‘retainer for the months of January and February 2017’ in the description.” McConney allegedly forwarded Cohen’s other invoices to Tarasoff marked for “legal expenses.”
  22. Karen McDougalMcDougal, a former Playboy Playmate, is “Woman 1” in the statement of facts. McDougal alleges that she had sexual relations with Trump while he was married. The statement of facts alleges the following: in or about June 2016, senior AMI officials discussed McDougal’s allegations with Cohen. AMI subsequently paid $150,000 to McDougal and received the exclusive rights to her story as part of the exchange. In a conversation recorded around September 2016, Trump discussed with Cohen how they could acquire the rights to McDougal’s story. Trump asked: “So what do we got to pay for this? One fifty?” Although AMI allegedly initially agreed to transfer the rights to her story to a shell company set up by Cohen, AMI backed out of the deal. It appears that AMI did not release McDougal from the non-disclosure agreement until after the 2016 presidential election. 
  23. John McEntee—McEntee was a White House aide. Then-Chief of Staff John Kelly fired him in 2018, after he failed a security clearance background check that had uncovered his “serious financial crimes.” Trump rehired McEntee as White House Presidential Personnel Office Director. In Trump’s 2016 campaign, he was the trip director.
  24. Adav Noti—Noti is the Executive Director of Campaign Legal Center (CLC). Prior to CLC, Noti served more than ten years within the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission, in nonpartisan capacities. On March 1, 2024, the DA’s office informed Trump that it intended to call Noti as an expert witness to address the same topics as Trump’s expert, Bradley Smith (see below). Among other items, Noti might speak to the rules regarding a third-party’s payment of a candidate’s expenses and about how corporate expenditures, made for the purpose of influencing an election and in coordination with or at the request of a candidate or campaign, are unlawful.
  25. David PeckerPecker is AMI’s chairman and chief executive officer (the “AMI CEO”) in the statement of facts. The statement of facts alleges the following: AMI publishes the National Enquirer and other tabloids. In August 2015, Pecker attended a meeting with Trump and Cohen at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. During that meeting, Pecker agreed to act as the “eyes and ears” of the Trump campaign—that is, Pecker agreed to participate in Trump’s “catch and kill” scheme. Pecker helped Cohen and Trump identify any problematic sources who came forward prior to the 2016 election with sordid details from Trump’s past. In fall 2015, Pecker facilitated a payment of $30,000 to a doorman at Trump Tower who claimed that Trump was the father to a baby born out of wedlock. In 2016, AMI also paid $150,000 to McDougal to prevent her from sharing her story about a sexual encounter with Trump. AMI entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, admitting that the payment to McDougal was intended to ensure she did not “publicize damaging allegations about” Trump “before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election.”
  26. Reince Priebus—Priebus was Trump’s first Chief of Staff and served in that role when Trump allegedly made the first payments to Cohen. Prior to that, he was the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2011 to 2017.
  27. Gina Rodriguez—Rodriguez is the former manager for Stephanie Clifford and helped negotiate her confidentiality agreement with respect to the hush money payment.
  28. Jeremy Rosenberg—Rosenberg was a Supervising Rackets Investigator in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. From court filings by Trump’s attorneys, it appears that Rosenberg will speak to phone records at issue in the case.
  29. Dino SajudinSajudin is the Trump Tower “Doorman” discussed in the statement of facts. The statement of facts alleges the following: In late 2015, as part of the “catch and kill” scheme, AMI paid Sajudin $30,000 to prevent him from going public with an allegation that Trump fathered a child out of wedlock. As part of the agreement, AMI acquired the “exclusive rights” to Sajudin’s story. According to the Manhattan DA’s Office, AMI “later concluded that the story was not true,” but Cohen “instructed” Pecker “not to release” Sajudin from the agreement “until after the presidential election.” Pecker allegedly “complied with that instruction because of his agreement with” Trump and Cohen—again evidencing that the “catch and kill” scheme was solely intended to prevent negative stories about Trump from coming to light prior to the 2016 presidential election. 
  30. Dan Scavino—Scavino was the 2016 Trump campaign’s director of social media and then the White House deputy chief of staff for communications. Reporting has indicated that Trump would make phone calls using Scavino’s phone.
  31. Keith Schiller—Schiller was Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard at the Trump Organization. Investigators previously questioned Schiller regarding his calls with David Pecker (see above).
  32. Bradley Smith—Smith is a law professor at Capital Law School and Trump might seek to call him as an expert witness regarding the Federal Election Commission and related matters. Smith was nominated to fill a Republican seat on the Federal Election Commission and he served from 2000 to 2005. On March 18, 2024, Merchan ruled that Smith lacked personal knowledge of the facts of the case, and so is not permitted to “offer opinion testimony regarding the interpretation and application of federal campaign finance laws and how they relate to the facts in the instant matter, nor may Smith testify or offer an opinion as to whether the alleged conduct in this case does or does not constitute a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.”
  33. Cameron Stracher—Stracher was general counsel at AMI, where he reviewed stories to determine if they were libelous. After the Stormy Daniels story broke, Stracher allegedly sought to renew a contract AMI had with McDougal. Stracher, in a New York Times article that discussed AMI’s role in McDougal’s silence, explained “It’s easy to look down at the work product of celebrity magazines and assume they are not entitled to the same protections as the mainstream media.”
  34. Deborah TarasoffTarasoff is “TO [Trump Organization] Accounts Payable Supervisor” in the statement of facts. At the direction of other Trump Organization officials, Tarasoff allegedly prepared the checks used to reimburse Cohen and falsely recorded those checks as “legal expenses” in the organization’s bookkeeping.
  35. Donald J. Trump—Trump is the defendant in this criminal trial. He was the 45th president of the United States.
  36. Donald Trump Jr.—Trump’s eldest son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization.
  37. Eric Trump—Trump’s son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization.
  38. Ivanka Trump—Trump’s eldest daughter, former executive vice president of the Trump Organization, and former senior advisor to the president.
  39. Melania Trump—Trump’s third wife. At the time of Trump’s affair with Stephanie Clifford, she was already married to him.
  40. Allen WeisselbergWeisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is “TO CFO” in the statement of facts. Trump allegedly instructed Cohen and Weisselberg to find a way to pay Clifford the $130,000 in hush money. Weisselberg allegedly arranged for Trump to reimburse Cohen from his trust and personal bank account in a series of checks cut throughout 2017. Weisselberg also allegedly helped Cohen cover up the true purpose of these monies, making it appear as regular taxable income. The Manhattan DA’s Office claims Weisselberg “memorialized these calculations in handwritten notes” on a “copy” of a “bank statement” that was produced by Cohen. Weisselberg was a key figure in the Manhattan DA’s investigation of the Trump Organization and testified at trial. In August 2022, he pleaded guilty to 15 charges brought during the Manhattan DA’s investigation into the Trump Organization. As part of his plea deal, Weisselberg served five months in prison. In March 2024, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to two additional charges of lying under oath during Trump’s civil fraud case in New York.
  41. Madeleine Westerhout—Westerhout was Trump’s executive assistant at the beginning of his term, when Trump met with Cohen in the Oval Office. During the 2016 election, she assisted Priebus and worked closely with the Republican candidates.


The list Justice Merchan read jurors gestures at the foundation that prosecutors will need to lay as they build their case against Trump. While the big names were already part of the public discourse, the newly-identified individuals are a crucial part of the mosaic of the case. Their roles range from allegedly directly participating in email communications coordinating the Trump campaign’s strategic response to the “Access Hollywood” tape, to structuring the Trump Organization’s accounting methods for the hush money, to forensically reviewing the behind-the-scenes coordination of the moving parts. 

The inclusion of a name on the list does not signify that the person will necessarily be a witness or even be named at trial. But just as the names were useful to jurors to identify potential conflicts, so too we hope that they will be helpful to everyone who is following this trial.

IMAGE: Former US President Donald Trump visits a Sanaa convenient store in a Harlem neighborhood after spending his second day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on April 16, 2024. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)