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Tags: stormy daniels | democrats | election interference | 2016 | trial | donald trump | michael cohen

Stormy Daniels Back on Witness Stand for Cross Examination

Thursday, 09 May 2024 08:10 AM EDT

 Stormy Daniels returned to the witness stand in Donald Trump's New York criminal trial Thursday, two days after she spent hours recounting in sometimes graphic detail the alleged 2006 sexual encounter with the former president that she was eventually paid to keep quiet about during the 2016 presidential election.

The former president's attorneys aggressively sought to poke holes in Daniels' credibility during cross-examination on Tuesday and on Thursday, accusing the porn actor of — among other things — trying to extort Trump and rehearsing her testimony, which she forcefully denied.

The defense on Tuesday attempted to have a mistrial declared, arguing that Daniels' morning testimony had “nothing to do with this case and is extremely prejudicial.”

Trump denies the two ever had sex.

Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records to cover up the payment and instead recording it as legal expenses. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Trump and two of his associates orchestrated a scheme to influence the 2016 election by buying and burying stories that might damage his campaign.

Daniels' testimony is a build-up to the prosecution's star witness Michael Cohen, who arranged the $130,000 payment to Daniels and later went to prison for orchestrating the payment and other charges.

The case is the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury.

Daniels took issue with Trump lawyer Susan Necheles’ questioning several times Thursday.

Amid questions about the financial arrangements for her documentary, Daniels accused Necheles of “trying to trick me into saying something that’s not entirely true.”

At another point, Daniels demanded the defense lawyer back up her claim about something she claimed Daniels had said regarding Donald Trump’s arrest.

“Show me where I said I’d be instrumental in putting President Trump in jail,” the witness said, steady and unflustered.

After Necheles showed Daniels a social media post she’d made that did not reflect those precise words, Daniels replied: “I don’t see the ‘instrumental’ or ‘jail.’ You’re putting words in my mouth.”

Trump spent much of the first hour of testimony leaning back in his seat and staring straight ahead, nodding at times as his attorney called jurors’ attention to social media posts by Daniels insulting him.

During cross-examination Thursday morning, Daniels underscored several times that she received no compensation for a “60 Minutes” interview she gave in 2018, relaying her alleged sexual encounter with Donald Trump. But Necheles, the defense lawyer, contended that the publicity from the TV appearance led to other moneymaking opportunities, including a book deal and a strip club tour.

Daniels said she’s received $100,000 and is due $25,000 more for footage and other rights she provided to the makers of a documentary about her experiences that aired recently on the NBC streaming service Peacock.

Some of the money was used to compensate camera operators who had filmed her before the documentary’s producers got involved, she said.

Daniels said she was not paid for any interviews she gave for the documentary.

Necheles ran through the finer points of the nondisclosure agreement that Daniels had with Cohen, asking Daniels to confirm that she agreed to highlighted portions.

“Yes,” Daniels said, adding: “I signed this only based on what my attorneys suggested.”

Necheles confronted Daniels with two statements she signed in early 2018 denying that she ever had any sexual involvement with Trump or received money to keep quiet. She said her then-lawyer, Keith Davidson, advised her to sign it, and that she was told that Cohen was pressing him to get her to do so.

Necheles noted that by then, Trump wasn’t running for election — an apparent effort to buttress the defense’s argument that Trump’s desire to squelch what he says are false claims about his personal life wasn’t related to his political ambitions, but rather to protect his family and reputation.

“I wouldn’t know what he wanted to protect,” Daniels said.

Daniels conceded that she was angry when Cohen was slow to pay her the $130,000 he’d promised in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter with Donald Trump, but she denied ever yelling at her then-lawyer Keith Davidson demanding to be paid.

“You were furious, weren’t you?” Necheles asked during cross-examination.

“Yes,” Daniels testified.

Necheles then played an audio recording of a phone call in which Davidson told Cohen that if he didn’t pay up, the boyfriend of Daniels’ manager might go public claiming he’d heard her on the phone screaming at Davidson to settle the case.

Davidson, relaying what the boyfriend might say about Daniels, was heard saying: “If (Trump) loses this election, we all lose all (expletive) leverage. This case is worth zero.”

Daniels denied that the third-hand imagined account of what her manager’s boyfriend might say bore any resemblance to how she actually interacted with her lawyer at the time.

“I’ve never yelled at Keith Davidson on the phone,” Daniels testified, looking at a transcript of the recording. “This specifically says Gina’s boyfriend was going to go out and tell a story.”

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


US
Stormy Daniels will face tough questioning from Donald Trump's lawyers Thursday as they try to dismantle the credibility of a woman whose story of a 2006 sexual encounter ultimately led to the first criminal trial of a former president.
stormy daniels, democrats, election interference, 2016, trial, donald trump, michael cohen
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2024-10-09
Thursday, 09 May 2024 08:10 AM
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