Trump lawyer request for mistrial over Stormy Daniels testimony in hush-money case denied by judge

Former US president allegedly paid $130,000 to adult film actor through his ex-lawyer less than two weeks before 2016 election

A courtroom sketch of Stormy Daniels (right) giving evidence accompanied with a displayed image of her and Donald Trump in the Manhattan criminal court. Photograph: Elizabeth Williams/AP

Adult film star Stormy Daniels testified on Tuesday that her life descended into “chaos” after her hush-money deal with former US president Donald Trump to stay silent about their alleged sexual encounter was made public, saying she was ostracised and harassed at her home.

“My husband asking questions, my friends asking questions,” Ms Daniels testified on day 13 of the first criminal trial of a former US president. “It blew my cover, for lack of a better way to explain it.”

She told the New York jury about the alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Mr Trump and the $130,000 (€120,000) hush-money payment she secured when he ran for president in 2016.

Ms Daniels said she was worried he would not pay her if he won the November 2016 election. Jurors saw documents that showed she cancelled the deal in mid-October but later revived it.


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She said she honoured the agreement by telling the Wall Street Journal in 2018 that she had not had sex with Mr Trump. Nevertheless, the Journal published the story.

Ms Daniels (45) said she was determined to keep the incident private after being threatened in a parking lot in 2011 but changed her mind during Trump’s 2016 presidential bid when he faced multiple accusations of sexual misbehaviour.

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

Mr Trump (77) who is the Republican candidate for president again this year, did not react as he watched her testimony from the witness stand. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records to cover up the hush money payment to Ms Daniels and denies ever having sex with Ms Daniels.

His legal team has suggested that Ms Daniels made up the story as she was angling for a spot on The Apprentice, a popular reality TV show then hosted by Mr Trump, a New York real estate mogul.

Ms Daniels confirmed that she hoped he would cast her on the show following their encounter.

After a lunch break, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche moved for a mistrial, arguing that her testimony was irrelevant to a case about business records and would only “inflame” the jury. Justice Juan Merchan denied his request.

Ms Daniels said Trump made sexual advances after inviting her to his hotel suite at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She said he told her “this is the only way you’re getting out of the trailer park.” Ms Daniels testified she grew up as the daughter of a low-income single mother.

Ms Daniels said she “blacked out” despite consuming no drugs or alcohol after Mr Trump prevented her from leaving the room by blocking the door. She said she woke up on the bed with her clothes off.

“I was staring at the ceiling and didn’t know how I got there, I was trying to think about anything other than what was happening there,” Ms Daniels testified.

Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she did not tell Mr Trump to stop. “I didn’t say anything at all,” she said. She said she left the hotel room quickly afterward.

The Republican politician, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, says the trial is an attempt to hobble his attempt to win back the White House from Democratic president Joe Biden in the November 5th election.

Wearing a black outfit and black glasses, Ms Daniels testified that she worked in strip clubs and pornography after a childhood in which her single mother was often gone for days at a time.

She said Mr Trump greeted her at his hotel suite wearing satin pyjamas. She said she grew annoyed by Mr Trump’s frequent interruptions and asked him: “Are you always this arrogant and pompous?”

She said Mr Trump dared her to spank him, and she did so.

Mr Trump appeared to rubbish the testimony as he watched from the defendant’s table

The alleged encounter took place while Mr Trump was married to his current wife, Melania.

Ms Daniels said she confided in only a few people about the sex. She said she saw Mr Trump at public events on several occasions in the years that followed, but then fell out of touch with him after he did not put her on the show.

She said she was approached in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 by a man who warned her not to speak about the encounter. “I was scared and I didn’t want anything else about the story to come out,” she said.

She said she changed her mind during Mr Trump’s 2016 bid and ultimately negotiated a $130,000 payment with Mr Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.

Prosecutors say Mr Trump falsified business records to obscure the fact that he reimbursed Mr Cohen for the payment. They say that amounts to an illegal scheme to influence the 2016 election by buying the silence of people with potentially damaging information.

The case is widely seen as less consequential than three other criminal prosecutions Trump faces, but it is the only one certain to go to trial before the election.

The other cases charge Trump with trying to overturn his 2020 presidential defeat and mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all three. – Reuters