Stormy Daniels Testifies In Trump's Criminal Hush Money Trial

Stormy Daniels, the porn actor who maintains she once had an affair with former President Donald Trump, took the stand Tuesday in his New York criminal trial.

Daniels’ testimony is expected to be key to the prosecution’s case against Trump, who is accused of falsifying New York state business records to conceal a hush money payment to her in the days before the 2016 presidential election.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his office have argued that this payment was made to influence the outcome of the election, meaning Trump could potentially be convicted of felonies and sentenced to prison.

Trump looked away from the witness stand as she began speaking, staring instead at the monitor in front of him that showed her testifying.

Asked if she could identify Trump in the courtroom Tuesday, Daniels extended her right arm and pointer finger in his direction.

From the stand, Daniels recalled that she and other adult film stars met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament held near Lake Tahoe in 2006. She and Trump had two casual encounters in passing, she said; later, his security guard approached and asked if she’d like to have dinner with Trump.

Her initial response to the invite: “F no.”

Then, clarifying for jurors: “No, but with an expletive in front.”

After chatting with her publicist, she said, she reconsidered dinner with Trump. Plus, she said, it would be a “really good excuse” to skip a work-related function she didn’t want to attend. “What could go wrong?” she recalled telling a friend of the invite.

Daniels said she “didn’t really have any expectations” about the dinner, except that she would meet Trump at his hotel room before going down to a restaurant.

Stormy Daniels appears at an event on May 23, 2018, in West Hollywood, California.
Stormy Daniels appears at an event on May 23, 2018, in West Hollywood, California. via Associated Press

She recalled the foyer of Trump’s penthouse room having a black-and-white tile floor and a “beautiful wood table” with a “big flower arrangement” on top.

“This hotel room was three times the size of my apartment,” she said. Trump answered the door in “silk or satin” pajamas, prompting her to make fun of him.

“Does Hugh Hefner know you stole his pajamas?” she asked. She said he “very politely” agreed to change his clothes.

Later, seated at the dining room table, she told him about her childhood and career, she said.

“He was very interested in a lot of the business aspects of [the adult film industry], which I thought was very cool,” Daniels testified.

“These were very thought-out business questions,” she said, in stark contrast to what most people ask about, like “the sexy stuff, the dirty stuff, they want to know the salacious things.”

Daniels, impatient for dinner, interrupted Trump while he talked endlessly about himself and showed off a copy of a new magazine that featured him.

“Are you always this rude?” Daniels said she told Trump.

“You don’t even know how to have a conversation,” she recalled telling him. Daniels said she told Trump that someone should “slap” him with the magazine, and he ended up allowing her to do so “right on the butt.” Trump’s demeanor relaxed afterward, she said.

Several members of the jury struggled to maintain their composure at the tale, with one woman appearing to stifle her laughter.

Trump told her that she reminded him of his daughter, who was also “blond” and “smart,” Daniels testified.

Later, Trump suggested that Daniels might appear on “The Apprentice,” although she said she did not fully believe him. But, she said, she had ambitions to write and direct films with larger budgets and to be “taken seriously.”

In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump turns to face the audience at the beginning of his trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
In this courtroom sketch, former President Donald Trump turns to face the audience at the beginning of his trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. via Associated Press

Daniels said she excused herself to use the bathroom, only to find Trump on the bed wearing only his boxers when she returned. She likened the moment to a “jump scare.”

She said the two had sex and kept the recollection brief at the urging of Judge Juan Merchan.

Upon mention of the “missionary position,” an attorney for the defense voiced an objection, which Merchan sustained. Daniels said Trump was not wearing a condom. She stared up at the ceiling during the encounter. Upon her departure, Trump called her “honeybunch,” she testified, adding that he suggested they meet up again soon.

The two never ended up actually eating dinner. Daniels said Trump kept calling her afterward, however, and dangled an “Apprentice” opportunity that kept her interested.

A brief 2007 meeting at Trump Tower about a potential “Apprentice” appearance didn’t bear fruit. The two saw each other once more in person, she said, in Los Angeles that summer. He propositioned her for sex again and she declined, telling jurors she felt “ashamed” of the earlier encounter.

In 2011, In Touch magazine expressed interest in a story about her relationship with Trump, she said. While the magazine didn’t publish anything, it did lead to a threatening encounter with a man in a Las Vegas parking lot who, she said, “threatened me not to continue to tell my story.”

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard testimony from David Pecker, former head of National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc., about how he agreed to use his tabloid empire to help Trump’s campaign in 2015 and 2016. Part of that agreement meant keeping an eye on the “marketplace” of scandalous stories for anything that could damage Trump and his candidacy. While traditional media eschews so-called “checkbook journalism,” Pecker said, his outlets commonly paid cash for story rights.

Daniels’ affair allegation was among those that bubbled to the surface during that time. She claims to have had a sexual relationship with Trump during the height of his “Apprentice” reality TV stardom in 2006.

Through a laborious process detailed in testimony from Daniels’ ex-lawyer, Keith Davidson, Trump’s attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, arranged to lock down Daniels’ story in late October 2016. It came at a perilous point in Trump’s campaign. Cohen arranged the payment to Daniels shortly after the “Access Hollywood” tape scandal threw the campaign into turmoil and seriously threatened his electoral chances.

Since news of her hush money payment was made public, however, Daniels has spoken openly about the alleged sexual encounter with Trump.