09 May 2024, 11:57

Stormy Daniels back in the Trump trial hot seat

NEW YORK, May 9, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Stormy Daniels is to return to the witness stand on Thursday at Donald Trump's historic hush money trial for another round of expected tough grilling by attorneys for the former president.

The X-rated film actress, who claims to have had sex with the married Trump in 2006, spent nearly five hours testifying on Tuesday, recounting the incident in often explicit detail as the real estate tycoon sat stewing just feet away.

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

The extraordinary courtroom face-off between Daniels and Trump is taking place six months before the November election, when the Republican hopeful will try to defeat Democratic President Joe Biden.

Speaking at a machine-gun pace that had the judge telling her to slow down at times, Daniels walked the New York jury through the one-night stand she said she had with Trump at a celebrity golf tournament.

She described his pajamas, his boxer shorts, the sexual position and that he did not wear a condom.

And while she was "not threatened verbally or physically" she said she "felt ashamed I didn't stop it, didn't say no."

Trump has denied having sex with Daniels and his lawyers asked the judge for a mistrial on the grounds her testimony was "extremely prejudicial" in what is essentially a financial records and election-related case.

Judge Juan Merchan denied the mistrial request but said some of Daniels' testimony would indeed have been "better left unsaid."

Merchan also called Trump's lawyers to the bench at one point to complain that the ex-president was "cursing audibly" and shaking his head at her testimony and they needed to curb his behavior.

Trump's visible reactions have "the potential to intimidate the witness," the judge said, and "I won't tolerate that."

"I will talk to him," Todd Blanche, one of Trump's attorneys, promised.

- 'False!' -

Speaking to reporters after court adjourned on Tuesday, Trump called the case a "disgrace" and said he "should be out campaigning right now."

Merchan has imposed a gag order on Trump prohibiting him from publicly attacking witnesses and the ex-president -- who has traded insults with Daniels for years, calling her "horseface" and other crude slurs -- did not comment directly on her testimony.

In a post on Truth Social on Wednesday, Trump complained about the gag order saying his "Constitutional Right to Free Speech" had been "unfairly taken" away.

"It is hard to sit back and listen to lies and false statements be made against you knowing that if you respond, even in the most modest fashion, you are told by a Corrupt and Highly Conflicted Judge that you will be PUT IN PRISON, maybe for a long period of time," he said.

Daniels was being aggressively cross-examined by one of Trump's attorneys, Susan Necheles, when court wrapped up on Tuesday and she will be back in the firing line on Thursday.

Seeking to chip away at Daniels' credibility, Necheles accused her of trying to "extort" money from Trump by claiming to have had sex with him.

"False!" Daniels said.

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

He has also been charged in Florida with allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House but that case has been postponed indefinitely.


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