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Stormy Daniels Tells Story of Sex With Trump in Hush-Money Trial Testimony

When Donald J. Trump met Stormy Daniels, their flirtation seemed fleeting: He was a 60-year-old married mogul at the height of reality TV fame, and she was 27, from Louisiana, raised in poverty and managed towards porn cinema stardom. .

But that chance encounter in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, some 20 years ago is now at the center of the first criminal trial of a U.S. president, an unprecedented case that could shape the 2024 presidential race.

This week, Ms. Daniels took the witness stand to tell her side of the story, often graphically. She has already been questioned for five hours and, after the trial was interrupted midweek, she is expected to return on Thursday to face additional cross-examination from Mr. Trump’s legal team.

The accusations against Mr. Trump stem from her history of having sex with him at that celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006, a history she made a decade later, in the final days of the presidential campaign. Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 in hush money before Election Day, and the former president is accused of falsifying business records to conceal Mr. Cohen’s reimbursements.

On Tuesday, Ms. Daniels’ rapid-fire testimony lasted nearly five hours, during which she described a meeting with Mr. Trump, now 77, that he has long denied. Tension gripped the courtroom, his voluble testimony filling a heavy silence. She made jokes; they didn’t land.

After about half an hour on the stand, she began revealing intimate details about Mr. Trump, so much so that the judge balked at some of the testimony. He suggested it was gratuitously vulgar and the defense asked for a mistrial.

Ms. Daniels said the future president invited her to dinner at his lavish hotel suite in Lake Tahoe. He opened the door in silk pajamas. When he was rude, she would spank him with a rolled up magazine. And when she asked him about his wife, he told her not to worry, claiming they didn’t even sleep in the same room – prompting Mr Trump to shake his head in disgust and muttering “bullshit” to his lawyers, loudly enough that it drew a private reprimand from the judge, who called him “contemptuous.”

Ms. Daniels then recounted the sex itself in graphic detail. This happened, she said, after returning from the bathroom to find Mr. Trump in his boxers and a T-shirt. She tried to leave and he blocked her way, but not, she said, in a threatening way. Sex was brief, she said, and although she never said no, there was a “power imbalance.”

“I was looking at the ceiling wondering how I got there,” she told the jury, adding that Mr. Trump did not wear a condom.

The testimony was an astonishing moment in American political history and the culmination of a trial full of them: a porn star, in front of a former and potentially future president, revealing to the world what she was once paid to remain silent.

Ms. Daniels, 45, has told her story widely — to prosecutors, to reporters, to her friends, in a book — but never to jurors, and not with Mr. Trump in the room. Her appearance on the stand appeared to unsettle Mr. Trump as she aired her dirty laundry, under oath, in mortifying detail.

But Ms. Daniels’ story is not just a sordid tale to tell; it sheds light on what prosecutors say is Mr. Trump’s criminality. He is accused of engineering a fake business document scheme to cover up all traces of their tryst: the hidden money, the reimbursement to Mr. Cohen and, yes, the sex.

While the defense characterized the testimony as defamation, Ms. Daniels provided prosecutors with few helpful details. She established the basic story of her meeting with Mr. Trump. And she testified that she would have told the same uncomfortable story in 2016 if she had not accepted hush money from Mr. Trump’s fixer.

But her testimony sometimes seemed problematic to the prosecutors who summoned her. Ms. Daniels testified that money was not her motivation and that she wanted to get her story out there. That could draw skepticism from jurors, who learned she accepted the $130,000 and, in exchange, didn’t tell her story for more than a year.

“My motivation wasn’t money,” she said. “It was motivated by fear, not money.”

The jury also saw the judge, Juan M. Merchan, reprimand Ms. Daniels at least twice, telling her to stick to the questions asked of her. At one point, he even voiced his own objection, interrupting her testimony as she began to describe the sexual position she and Mr. Trump had adopted.

Judge Merchan, usually stoic with a tight grip on his courtroom, displayed rare exasperation as the testimony veered in a slanderous direction and the trial took on a circus atmosphere.

He also asked Ms. Daniels to slow down. She was a quick talker, prone to laughter and long asides.

Outside the presence of the jury, the judge said “certain things were better left unsaid” in her testimony and suggested Ms Daniels might have “credibility issues”.

Yet he rejected the defense’s request for a mistrial, instead inviting Mr. Trump’s lawyers to stage aggressive questioning of Ms. Daniels.

“The more times this story has changed, the more material there is for cross-examination,” he said.

Susan Necheles, the Trump lawyer who led the cross-examination, followed the judge’s advice.

She painted Mrs. Daniels like a lying opportunist. She discovered excerpts from Ms. Daniels’ book that suggested her story had changed over time. And in a potentially difficult moment for Ms. Daniels, Ms. Necheles suggested she fabricated a story about a Trump supporter threatening her and her daughter in a Las Vegas parking lot, a story she did not share with her baby’s father.

“Your daughter’s life was in danger and you didn’t tell her father, did you?” asked Ms. Necheles, implying that the story was false.

Mrs. Daniels was outraged. And during some cross-examinations, she warded off effectively, behaving even better than in her answers to prosecutors.

His testimony brought one of the first scandals that hung over Mr. Trump’s presidency full circle. Since the Wall Street Journal reported six years ago that Mr. Cohen had paid her to keep quiet, her story has changed the course of American politics and laid the groundwork for the affair.

Over the years, Ms. Daniels has leaned on her fame close to Trump. She sold merchandise, filmed a documentary, participated in high-profile interviews and wrote a book so revealing it included detailed descriptions of the former president’s genitals. Mr. Trump also made insults that ridiculed her appearance, calling her “horse-faced.”

But at other times, Ms. Daniels seemed tortured, detailing the personal toll of outsized exposure. Suddenly, she was no longer just a porn star but a threat to a man who leads the most fervent political movement in modern American history. She told reporters she had been inundated with threats from Trump supporters, many of which were explicit. She feared for her family and divorced her third husband, the father of her daughter.

“I’ve been tormented for about five years,” she said in the opening scene of “Stormy,” a documentary about her life released on Peacock. “And here I am, I’m still here.”

Ms. Daniels joined the trial at a pivotal moment. On Monday, prosecutors asked two veterans of the Trump Organization’s accounting department to show jurors 34 records they claim Mr. Trump falsified to conceal his reimbursement to Mr. Cohen for hush money. These include 11 invoices, 11 checks and 12 entries in Mr. Trump’s ledger that presented the payments as normal legal fees.

In the coming weeks, Mr. Cohen is expected to take the stand and connect the salacious details with the substantive documents. On Tuesday, Ms. Daniels’ testimony led jurors to uncover the darker elements of the case.

She began by recounting a difficult childhood in Baton Rouge. Her parents separated when she was young, she said.

She wanted to become a veterinarian and was the editor of her high school newspaper. Eventually, she started stripping, she said, because she earned more than shoveling manure in a stable.

By the time she met Mr. Trump at the golf tournament in 2006, she was a porn star. She was an actress and would eventually find her place as a director and producer.

When asked to identify Mr. Trump in the courtroom, she referred to him as a man in a navy suit jacket. Ms. Daniels, dressed in black and wearing glasses, reduced the singular former president to just another man in the courtroom.

She spent much of her testimony describing that first encounter in Lake Tahoe. When she met Mr. Trump, she knew he was a golfer and host of “The Apprentice,” the reality show that revived Mr. Trump’s celebrity for a new generation. In a memorable line, Ms Daniels said she also knew he was “as old or older than my father”.

Later that day, she said, Mr. Trump’s aide approached and invited her to dinner. She says he took her number, but her first reaction was “eff no,” short for an expletive.

But her publicist encouraged her: “What could possibly be going on?” »

She then transported the jurors to her hotel room, painting the sprawling suite in minute detail, capturing every aspect down to the color of the tiles.

She said Mr. Trump took an interest in her company and asked about unions, residuals and health insurance, as well as testing for sexually transmitted diseases. “He was very interested in how I went from just being a porn star to writing and directing,” she said.

Ms Daniels said Mr Trump told her: “You remind me of my daughter. She’s smart, blonde and beautiful, and people underestimate her too.

She remembers going into the bathroom to do her lipstick, where, she says, she noticed gold clips and Old Spice.

They later stayed in touch, she said. In 2007, they met at Trump Tower in New York, at a Trump Vodka launch party in Los Angeles and at a Beverly Hills hotel — all interactions that seemed to contradict Mr. Trump’s claims that which he barely knew her.

The jury also saw contact logs from Ms Daniels’ phone and that of Mr Trump’s aide, showing they stayed in touch. And when they spoke, she said, Mr. Trump had a nickname for her: “Honeybunch.”

Since then, they have only spoken through lawyers, particularly during secret negotiations. When Ms. Necheles accused Ms. Daniels of using the effort to “extort money from President Trump,” Ms. Daniels demurred.

“Wrong,” she said.

“That’s what you did, isn’t it?” Ms. Necheles persisted.

“FAKE!” » shouted Ms. Daniels.

The report was provided by William K. Rashbaum, Kate Christobek, Jesse McKinley, Wesley Parnell And Matthew Haag.

News Source : www.nytimes.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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