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Porn star Stormy Daniels in NYC hush money trial alleges sexual encounter with Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 7, 2024, in New York City. Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges. Photo by Sarah Yenesel-Pool/Getty Images.

By Ashley Murray, Minnesota Reformer

WASHINGTON — Adult film star Stormy Daniels told a Manhattan jury Tuesday about meeting Donald Trump in a penthouse suite in 2006, where he told the actress not to worry about his wife and that she reminded him of his daughter shortly before they had sex.

The testimony, reported by journalists in the courtroom, described in granular detail the intimate physical encounter with a former president, who is now facing charges in New York for falsifying records of hush-money payments to the actress and director. Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges.

Trump, the presumed 2024 Republican presidential nominee, denies the encounter.

Daniels was called to the stand in the trial’s fourth week as prosecutors aim to prove that Trump covered up a $130,000 payment to silence the star during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The former president faces 34 felony charges for allegedly disguising the payments, reimbursed to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, as “legal expenses.” The Trump organization eventually paid Cohen $420,000 to account for taxes and a bonus.

Book editor testifies

The trial opened Tuesday with a brief appearance from witness Sally Franklin. Franklin is an executive and editor with Penguin Random House, the publisher of some of Trump’s books, including “Trump: How to Get Rich” and “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire.”

Prosecutors led jurors through excerpts of Trump’s books, including portions where Trump claims to always sign checks personally and that he fastidiously kept track of funds going in and out of the Trump Organization.

On Monday, the jury heard from both a former and current finance employee of the Trump Organization about the payments to Cohen. The prosecutors used the testimony to show the jurors financial documentation, including the 11 checks personally signed by Trump.

The New York case is the first of four criminal indictments against Trump to reach the trial stage. The likelihood of the other cases reaching trial before the November election dwindled further Tuesday when a federal district judge in Florida indefinitely postponed the trial date in Trump’s classified documents case that had been scheduled for May 20.

‘My motivation wasn’t money’

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, testified for several hours, telling the jury about a reluctant sexual encounter with Trump and multiple public meetings with him in the following months as he dangled a possible appearance for her on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” according to reporters at the courthouse.

New York does not allow video or audio recording in the courtroom but provides public transcripts of the proceedings.

Journalists reported Judge Juan Merchan growing irritated with Daniels’ long and detailed testimony, at times chastising her and telling her to stick to the questions. Merchan sustained objections from Trump’s team, and at times objected on his own.

The actress described meeting Trump in 2006 at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament where she was promoting Wicked Pictures, an adult film company.

Initially refusing an invitation for dinner, Daniels then agreed to meet Trump for the meal in his luxury hotel suite. Daniels testified that Trump answered the door in silky pajamas, and she asked him to get changed.

After dinner, Daniels testified, she was shocked that Trump had stripped down to his underclothes and then positioned himself between her and the door when she attempted to leave, according to reporters at the courthouse.

She testified that she didn’t say no “because I didn’t say anything at all.”

Daniels said she stopped taking Trump’s calls in 2007 after he couldn’t guarantee her an appearance on the NBC show.

In the ensuing years, her story appeared on an obscure website, and Daniels talked about being approached in 2011 by a man who threatened her and told her to keep quiet about the encounter.

Daniels testified that after Trump announced his presidential run in 2015 her publicist unsuccessfully tried to sell her story. Interest only heated up, however, in October 2016 after the surfacing of an “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump brags that his fame allows him to grab women’s genitals.

“My motivation wasn’t money. It was to get the story out,” she said, according to reporters at the courthouse.

Trump and Cohen reached out to Daniels’ publicist Gina Rodriguez to buy her story, after which Daniels said she decided keeping quiet would be the safest option for her and her family.

Daniels eventually received $96,000 of the $130,000 payment, after her manager and lawyer took fees, she testified.

A mistrial attempt

Trump’s defense lawyer Todd Blanche moved for a mistrial Tuesday afternoon, arguing Daniels’ testimony went beyond what was necessary for the case.

Blanche especially took issue with Daniels describing from the witness stand her feelings about the alleged affair and her claim that Trump didn’t wear a condom.

While Merchan told the defense that some things would have been “better left unsaid,” he denied the motion for a mistrial.

Daniels returned to the stand in the afternoon as Trump attorney Susan Necheles aimed to discredit her, accusing her of making “a lot of money” from her story, according to reporters at the courthouse.

Necheles also questioned Daniels about the 2011 encounter with the man she said threatened her. At the time Daniels was in a parking lot on the way into a “mommy and me” class with her baby.

Necheles cast doubt on the veracity of the story, saying “Your daughter’s life was in jeopardy and you did not tell her father,” according to reporters at the courthouse. Daniels said she kept the story and the parking lot encounter secret from her husband.

In a further attempt to poke holes in Daniels’ testimony, Necheles asked why the porn star decided she wanted to sell her story in 2016 after having been so afraid of threats.

Necheles said Daniels saw an “opportunity to make money,” to which Daniels responded, “I saw the opportunity to get the story out. I didn’t put a price tag on it,” according to reporters at the courthouse.

Merchan dismissed the jury at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. Trump’s team is expected to continue cross-examination Wednesday.

In response to Daniels’ testimony, Trump posted in all caps on his platform Truth Social Tuesday afternoon: “THE PROSECUTION, WHICH HAS NO CASE, HAS GONE TOO FAR. MISTRIAL!”

The post followed an earlier one that had since been deleted, according to media reports. The earlier post expressed anger that Daniels was unexpectedly being called to the witness stand.

Trump was fined $1,000 Monday for again violating his gag order, which prevents him from posting about witnesses. The former president was fined for nine other gag order violations on April 30.

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