Stormy Daniels to Go Toe-to-Toe With Trump’s Defense at Hush Money Trial

Win McNamee/AFP via Getty Images
Win McNamee/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump’s hush money trial will resume Thursday with more testimony from Stormy Daniels, the porn star whose claims of a sexual encounter with the former president and a subsequent payment to keep quiet about it are at the center of the prosecution’s historic criminal case.

She will return to the witness stand to face questioning from the defense, who have already attempted to undermine her credibility and the prosecution’s contention that Trump plotted to unlawfully influence the 2016 election by burying potentially damaging stories about him ahead of the national vote.

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Daniels is key to the proceedings because prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization deliberately mislabeled payments to Michael Cohen—Trump’s former attorney and fixer—as legal expenses when they were in fact reimbursements for a $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels to buy her silence about the alleged affair. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records and has denied ever having a sexual relationship with Daniels.

On Tuesday, Daniels provided detailed testimony about her supposed tryst with Trump in 2006 after they met at a golf tournament. Over several hours, Daniels spoke in graphic detail about what unfolded—though she was cut off at one point by a Trump attorney’s objection as she began to describe sexual positions.

Trump’s attorneys also pushed for a mistrial over Daniels’ testimony, branding it “extraordinarily prejudicial.” Judge Juan Merchan denied the request, though he did opine that “there are some things that would have been better left unsaid” and expressed his surprise that the defense team hadn’t made more objections during her testimony.

Jurors also got what was likely to be a preview of the defense team’s gameplan in dealing with Daniels—namely, making her out to be a liar who had attempted to extort Trump with the hush money deal.

“Am I correct that you hate President Trump?” defense attorney Susan Necheles asked her Tuesday. “Yes,” Daniels acknowledged. Necheles also asked in one heated exchange if Daniels was looking to extort money from Trump. “False,” Daniels replied. “That’s what you did, right?” Necheles pressed. “False!” Daniels answered again.

Necheles also grilled Daniels about her calling Trump names on social media, a war of words which Daniels said the 2024 GOP presumptive nominee “started.” “You call him names all the time, right?” Necheles asked. Daniels agreed, but said: “He made fun of me first!”

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