Trump Calls for Allies’ Support During Hush-Money Testimony

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As he walks into the courtroom at 9:30 a.m. each day of his trial, Donald J. Trump scans the benches for familiar faces.

He has glared at George Conway, an antagonist who is reporting on the former president’s criminal case for The Atlantic magazine. He smiled at Greg Kelly, a reliably pro-Trump host on Newsmax, who was in court on Thursday.

And then there are the people he has brought with him as guests. Senator Rick Scott of Florida was there to show support on Thursday. Several days ago, Mr. Trump was accompanied by Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, and David McIntosh, the head of the anti-tax Club for Growth.

During excruciating testimony about a story of extramarital sex, Mr. Trump’s son Eric was one of his sources of support, sitting behind him in court.

People close to Mr. Trump have worried about whether long days in the courtroom have had an effect on his mental state. He has been forced to sit silently for hours as witnesses like Stormy Daniels, the porn star whose story of a liaison set the case in motion, have insulted him in deeply personal ways. Before the trial, Mr. Trump’s advisers discussed the need to have people who Mr. Trump finds supportive nearby when he looks back from the defense table — both for his sake and so that jurors can see he has people standing with him.

A growing number of allies have heeded the call. During the rare breaks when he doesn’t leave the courtroom, Mr. Trump occasionally turns around from the defense table and scans the room.

First in Mr. Trump’s line of sight in recent days has been his legal adviser, Boris Epshteyn, who was recently indicted in connection with his efforts to help Mr. Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Epshteyn has become a reliable presence in the second row of the courtroom. Generally seated to his right is another aide, Natalie Harp, whose official responsibilities are not easily defined. Called “the human printer” by colleagues, Ms. Harp often carries a portable device so she can quickly provide Mr. Trump with hard copies of mood-boosting news articles and social media posts by people praising him.

Eric Trump has been the only Trump family member to attend the trial. Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, who has been embarrassed by the allegations of hush-money payments to Ms. Daniels, has stayed away from the courtroom. So have Mr. Trump’s other adult children.

Mr. Trump’s campaign advisers and other aides have cycled in and out. Jason Miller, a senior adviser, has been a regular presence. Alina Habba, a lawyer who has represented Mr. Trump, has attended despite not working on this case. His top campaign officials, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, have each attended once, and other close aides such as Steven Cheung, his campaign’s communication’s director, and Margo Martin have been present at times.

Mr. Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, has come to the courthouse but has stayed out of sight of reporters, according to people in Mr. Trump’s orbit. Mr. Nauta is Mr. Trump’s co-defendant in his federal indictment on charges that he improperly handled classified documents.

An open question is who comes to court for Mr. Trump once the key witness — Michael D. Cohen, his former personal lawyer and fixer — takes the stand in coming days.

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