Stormy Daniels tells jury about sexual tryst with Trump at hush money trial

NEW YORK — In riveting testimony at Donald Trump’s Manhattan trial Tuesday, porn star Stormy Daniels explicitly detailed allegations of a disorienting one-night stand in a Lake Tahoe hotel room with a future U.S. president in silk pajamas and hush money she received to keep it secret.

Just feet away from a stone-faced Trump, Daniels, 45, provided an in-depth account of the alleged tryst the public has long known about — now in focus at the historic first criminal trial of a U.S. president — during almost five hours in the witness box. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, described feeling stopped in her tracks coming out of Trump’s master bathroom to find him splayed out half-dressed and later uncomfortable that he didn’t wear a condom.

“Mr. Trump had come into the bedroom and was on the bed, basically between myself and the exit,” Daniels testified, describing Trump as posing in nothing but boxers and a T-shirt and the room spinning in slow motion.

“The next thing I know, I was on the bed, somehow on the opposite side,” Daniels recalled, telling the court she felt the blood leave her hands and describing that she “blacked out,” but not as a result of being under the influence.

“I had my clothes and my shoes off. I believe my bra, however, was still on. We were in the missionary position,” Daniels said. “I was trying to think about anything other than what was happening there.”

Trump, 77, scowled and trained his eyes away from the witness stand through much of Daniels’ testimony Tuesday as the porn star recounted their sexual encounter nearly 20 years ago at a celebrity golf tournament.

At one point, State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan spotted the defendant “cursing audibly” at the defense table and shaking his head. At a sidebar, he warned his lawyers that he’d hold him in contempt for witness intimidation if he didn’t tone it down.

The tryst came after Daniels recounted a two-hour conversation she had with Trump after arriving at his room. She testified that Trump told her that he didn’t share a room with his then-wife of less than two years, Melania; that Daniels reminded him of his “smart and blond and beautiful” daughter; and asked her whether there were labor unions in the porn industry.

Daniels said she ended up at Trump’s hotel room after being invited to have dinner with him by his longtime former bodyguard, Keith Schiller. Identifying the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s presidential election as the man at the defense table in “a navy blue jacket,” Daniels told the jury they first met on the Lake Tahoe golf course in July 2006, when she was 27 and Trump was 60, noting he was “probably older than my father.”

Daniels said she accepted the dinner invitation at her agent’s urging.

“It will make a great story,” she quoted her former publicist. “What could possibly go wrong?”

Daniels told the court that Trump was wearing “silk or satin pajamas” when she arrived at his hotel room at Schiller’s behest and cracked a joke about him stealing the late former Playboy owner Hugh Hefner’s pajamas.

Under questioning by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, Daniels said she wanted to leave once she came out of the bathroom and realized what Trump had in mind, but clarified that he didn’t threaten her or force himself on her.

“I was in a fun house, slow motion. I just thought to myself, ‘Great, I’ve put myself in this bad situation,'” she recalled.

Hoffinger, who later told the court she tried not to elicit too much detail but needed to establish Daniels’ credibility after the defense sought to impugn it in their opening statement, asked the adult film entertainer to detail the encounter in broad strokes.

“Was he wearing a condom?” Hoffinger asked.

“No,” Daniels replied.

“Was that concerning to you?”


Daniels said she didn’t say anything about concerns over using protection — “I didn’t say anything at all” — and conceded the entire encounter was brief.

Afterward, she told the court she remembered struggling to put her strappy gold high heels on “because my hands were shaking so hard.”

“He said, ‘Oh, great. Let’s get together again, honeybunch,’” Daniels testified. “I just wanted to leave.”

Merchan sustained multiple objections from Trump's attorneys as Daniels recounted the alleged extramarital liaison, later telling Trump’s lawyers when he denied the defense's mistrial motion that he didn’t think they objected enough and that much of the testimony would have been “better left unsaid.”

In their request for a mistrial, coming right after the lunch break, Trump’s attorneys took issue with Daniels’ account of him not wearing protection and her description of an unequal power dynamic between the two. Daniels described discomfort with Trump “being bigger and blocking the way.”

“This is the kind of testimony that makes it impossible to come back from,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche said.

But Hoffinger countered that the defense had opened the door in its initial statements to jurors on the first day of trial, accusing Daniels of extortion.

“At the end of the day, your honor, this is what the defendant was trying to hide.”

Trump is charged with 34 felonies in the case, all of which he denies, alleging he covered up his reimbursement to Michael Cohen for paying off Daniels a decade after the alleged tryst right before he took the White House.

Prosecutors say the payments came as the last stage of an unlawful scheme to influence the results of the 2016 election first devised at Trump Tower between Trump, Cohen, and former tabloid publisher David Pecker.

The former president has vehemently denied Daniels’ allegations, deriding her as “horseface” in comments presented to jurors Tuesday, or ever having a relationship with her. Still, the porn star said countless witnesses who heard Trump ringing her up to three times a week after the golf tournament could dispute that.

“I always put him on speakerphone; we thought it was funny,” she told the court, conceding that Trump, who “always called me ‘honeybunch,’” didn’t know he was on speaker.

“Dozens and dozens of people heard me on the phone to him. It was not a secret.”

Daniels said she saw Trump again after their alleged sex, including at a night club the following day and at Trump Tower and Los Angeles in the year after, where she said she lied to him and said she was menstruating to avoid sex. She said she kept in touch with him after he floated TV opportunities.

Daniels twice said “absolutely not” when Hoffinger asked if Trump asked her to keep their tryst confidential or seemed concerned about it getting out. The L.A. meetup was the last time they saw each another, though she called her a few more times — including to let her know he’d been “overruled” about a promise to get her on “The Apprentice.”

Getting to the heart of the criminal allegations against Trump later in the day, Hoffinger asked the porn star about initially coming forward about what had happened in 2011 to InTouch Weekly in a story later killed when Trump’s fixer threatened to sue. The same year, she told jurors she began to feel unsafe when a man threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot, telling her not to speak out about her encounter with Trump.

Daniels said the incident was front of mind when Trump announced he was running for president three years later in the summer of 2015, and her agent called her about selling her story. At the time, Daniels said she was in the best financial position of her career and didn’t need the money.

Last week, the jury heard from Daniels’ former lawyer, Keith Davidson — who also represented former Playboy model Karen McDougal in an alleged hush money deal — who described dealing with a frantic Cohen in the waning days of the 2016 race, who sought to bury her story following the bombshell release of the “Access Hollywood” tape.

Hoffinger asked Daniels if she had wanted her lawyer to negotiate with Cohen to silence her for money. “My motivation wasn’t money, it was to get the story out,” she said, adamant. “I was motivated out of fear, not money.”

Daniels said after she hesitantly signed the nondisclosure deal for $130,000 — which she got $96,000 of after her lawyer and agent took out their cuts — she understood Trump to be the beneficiary. She told the court it agreed that neither of them could acknowledge knowing the other and that she would be liable for $1 million “every time I said something.”

But Cohen lagged in sending the payment she understood was coming from Trump to his fixer to his lawyer and she considered backing out.

After the election, Daniels, who said she felt deep shame about the encounter, said that she didn’t want to face the repercussions of the story becoming public and what her husband would feel. She abided by the deal, declining to speak out until after The Wall Street Journal reported on it in 2018 and “chaos” ensued.

Daniels is expected to resume cross-examination with Trump lawyer Susan Necheles on Thursday. In under two hours of questioning, Daniels’ admitted to Trump’s lawyer that she hated her client and hoped to never pay him $560,000 in attorneys’ fees owed in a separate civil matter.