08 May 2024, 09:05

Pajamas, 'honeybunch' and sex: Stormy testifies

NEW YORK, May 8, 2024 (AFP) - It was the courtroom face-off everyone was
waiting for -- testimony of high legal importance, and salacious sexual

Donald Trump, the former US president who has always prided himself on being
in charge and in control, was forced to sit and listen to a porn star
describe in open court a bedroom encounter that he denies ever took place.

"When I opened the bathroom door to come out, Mr. Trump had come into the
bedroom," Stormy Daniels told the New York court.

"The intention was pretty clear, someone stripped down to their underwear
posing on the bed waiting for you."

Trump stared ahead through Daniels' testimony, which often veered into
graphic sexual detail despite the judge's best efforts.

"My clothes and shoes were off, I think I still had my bra on. We were in
missionary position."

Was he wearing a condom? "No."

Was it brief? "Yes."

Judge Juan Merchan appeared wrong-footed by the adult material, ordering
Daniels to "just answer the questions" after repeated objections from the
defense, several of which he upheld.

But he was not the only one: at one point, during a sidebar, Merchan told
Trump's lawyers that the Republican was "cursing audibly" and shaking his
head during Daniels's testimony.

That had the potential to intimidate the witness, Merchan said, ordering the
former president's attorneys to temper their client's behavior, according to
a trial transcript released late on Tuesday.

Daniels still revealed a plethora of unforgettable allegations.

She told the court Trump called her "Honeybunch," and she described multiple
phone calls with him -- some of which she put on speakerphone to entertain
her friends.

The encounter took place in 2006, she recalled, when Trump had pushed to have
dinner with her at a golf tournament.

When she arrived via the penthouse elevator, Trump greeted her in silk or
satin pajamas before changing into casual clothes after she teased him.

"He said it was a bit early, maybe we could talk a little bit and get to know
each other," Daniels said.

She recounted that he asked if she had a boyfriend, about the economics of
the porn industry, and the threat of catching a sexually-transmitted disease
in her job.

"I said well, we were tested every 30 days," Daniels told the court,
occasionally looking straight at Trump, who did not return her gaze.

- 'He went to kiss me' -

Daniels said their lengthy conversation touched on Trump's wife Melania --
with Trump saying "we actually don't even sleep in the same room" -- as well
as whether Daniels should go on Trump's hit show "The Apprentice."

"He said I reminded him of his daughter because she's smart and blonde,"
Daniels added in another excruciating comment.

When Trump showed her a magazine with him on the cover, she joked: "Someone
should spank you with that," she told the court.

"He gave me the look that he dared me to do it... so I swatted him with it
right on the butt."

In the trial transcript, Merchan detailed that moment as one of the times
Trump could be seen shaking his head.

In testimony that was at times calm, and at times uncertain, she said they
saw each other the next day, and met again at a function at Trump Tower in
New York and in Los Angeles, but they did not have sex again.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, wore a black jacket as she
answered questions, with prosecutors seeking to prove Trump covered up
payments to her to hush up the alleged sexual encounter.

The former president and 2024 Republican candidate -- wearing a blue suit and
yellow tie -- sat back in his chair, his head tilted, sometimes conferring
with his lawyer.

Trump's son Eric looked on, also shaking his head.

Daniels appeared to have gotten under Trump's skin even before she entered
the shabby courtroom in a Manhattan skyscraper.

"I have just recently been told who the witness is today. This is
unprecedented, no time for lawyers to prepare," he fumed on social media,
later deleting the post.

On the witness stand, she made clear the sex was consensual and said he told
her "that was great."

Daniels said her hands were shaking as she quickly got dressed. "He went to
kiss me goodbye, I went to leave as fast as I could."

Trump's lawyers called for a mistrial, saying much of Daniels' testimony had
nothing to do with the fraud charges that the ex-president faces.

The judge denied the request, but added "I agree there were some things that
were better left unsaid."

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