National Enquirer Fabricated Story About Cruz's Dad, Says Ex-Publisher

David Pecker admits article about Rafael Cruz, JFK assassin was faked
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2024 12:30 AM CDT
National Enquirer Fabricated Story About Cruz's Dad, Says Ex-Publisher
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is shown during a news conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

While testifying at Donald Trump's hush money trial Tuesday, the former publisher of the National Enquirer said that an infamous 2016 story about Ted Cruz's father was completely fabricated. The article claimed Rafael Cruz handed out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets with Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963, before Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and Trump brought it up multiple times as he campaigned for president against Cruz in 2016. But the photo supposedly showing the elder Cruz alongside Oswald was completely faked, David Pecker said on the stand, per NBC News.

"We mashed the photos and the different picture with Lee Harvey Oswald," he testified after he was asked by a prosecutor about the article's origins. "And mashed the two together. And that's how that story was prepared—created I would say." The prosecutor followed up by asking if the story was published after the younger Cruz's presidential campaign experienced a boost in popularity, and Pecker replied, "I believe so." Pecker testified Tuesday that Michael Cohen, then Trump's lawyer and "fixer," would call the tabloid and ask them to publish a negative story about one of Trump's opponents, sometimes actually sending over a story that the tab "would embellish ... from there." He suggested Trump himself was involved in the arrangement.

As the Washington Post reports, Ted Cruz appeared to be onto the tabloid back in 2016, saying at one point at a campaign event, "The CEO of the National Enquirer is an individual named David Pecker. Well, David is good friends with Donald Trump. In fact, the National Enquirer has endorsed Donald Trump, has said he must be president." He accused "Donald and his henchmen, ... his buddies at the National Enquirer" of spreading lies about him. For his part, Trump in 2016 claimed he did not know about the article in advance and had nothing to do with it appearing in the tabloid. (More National Enquirer stories.)

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