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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Stormy Daniels details alleged sex with Trump

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NEW YORK – Stormy Daniels, the porn star at the heart of Donald Trump’s historic criminal trial, testified Tuesday -– in sometimes explicit detail –- about an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with the former president in a hotel penthouse suite.

Trump, 77, is accused of falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels on the eve of his 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, when the lurid story of marital infidelity could have sunk his campaign.

“The people call Stormy Daniels,” prosecutor Susan Hoffinger said as Trump, who is seeking to recapture the White House in November, sat at the defense table in the Manhattan courtroom flanked by his lawyers.

Meanwhile, the judge in Donald Trump’s hush money trial said the former president was “cursing audibly” during testimony on Tuesday by porn star Stormy Daniels and directed his lawyers to temper their client’s behavior.

“I understand that your client is upset at this point, but he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually, and that’s contemptuous,” Judge Juan Merchan told Trump attorney Todd Blanche during a sidebar conversation, according to excerpts of the official trial transcript posted online Tuesday evening.

What followed was detailed testimony about the sexual encounter Daniels said she had with Trump -– his boxer shorts, the sexual position, that he did not wear a condom -– all while the former president stared on, stony faced.

Trump has denied the affair, and his defense team tried — unsuccessfully — to have a mistrial declared, citing the “extremely prejudicial” nature of Daniels’s testimony.

Speaking to reporters after the day’s proceedings, Trump called the case a “disgrace” and said he “should be out campaigning right now.”

Judge Juan Merchan has imposed a gag order on Trump prohibiting him from publicly attacking witnesses and the ex-president did not comment directly on Daniels’s appearance on the stand.

However during a sidebar conversation in the courtroom, Merchan told Trump’s lawyers the Republican was “cursing audibly” and shaking his head during Daniels’s testimony, warning such behavior — which he said had “potential to intimidate the witness” — would not be tolerated.

Trump is facing four criminal cases, and he received a dose of good news on Tuesday when a federal judge in Florida indefinitely postponed the start of his trial on charges of mishandling classified documents.

District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, said the planned May 20 trial date was not possible because of the number of pre-trial motions. She did not set a new trial date.

The extraordinary courtroom face-off between Daniels and Trump comes six months before election day, when he will try to defeat President Joe Biden.

Daniels, 45, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe.

She was 27 and Trump was “probably older than my father,” she said, adding that she reluctantly agreed to have dinner with the real estate tycoon.

When she arrived at Trump’s penthouse he emerged wearing “silk or satin pajamas which I immediately made fun of,” Daniels told the jury.

“I said ‘Does Mr Hefner know you stole his pajamas?’” she said in a reference to the outfit favored by the late Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

Trump changed clothes and they talked about adult movies, Daniels said, adding that he “was very interested in a lot of the business stuff.”

Trump, who was married at the time to his wife, Melania, suggested Daniels be on his hit reality television show, “The Apprentice,” she said.

Daniels said she went to the bathroom at one point and when she emerged Trump was on the bed in boxer shorts and a T-shirt.

“It startled me,” she said. “The intention was pretty clear.

“I was not threatened verbally or physically.”

She said they had brief sex on the bed “in missionary position” and Trump did not wear a condom.

“I felt ashamed I didn’t stop it, didn’t say no,” she said.

Daniels said she met Trump on several other occasions but cut off contact once it became clear she would not appear on “The Apprentice.”

After Trump announced his presidential run, she said her publicist put her in touch with Keith Davidson, a Hollywood lawyer, to sell her story.

“My motivation wasn’t money, it was to get the story out,” Daniels said.

She said she entered into a non-disclosure agreement in October 2016, on the eve of the election, negotiated by Davidson and Cohen for which she was paid $130,000.

During a tense cross-examination, Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles accused Daniels of seeking to “extort” money from Trump.

“False,” Daniels said.

“You have been making money by claiming to have had sex with Donald Trump?” Necheles said.

“No,” Daniels replied, “I have made money by telling the story of what happened to me.”

In addition to the New York and Florida cases, Trump has been indicted in Washington and Georgia on charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The hush money trial is to resume on Thursday with Daniels back on the witness stand.

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