Monday, May 27

Stormy Daniels And The Hush Money Trail That Keeps Donald Trump On His Toes

Edited by Fathimathu Shana

In the hush money trial against Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels took the witness stand on Tuesday detailing the alleged sexual encounter and the payment she got to keep the matter under the lid. Prosecutors claimed that Trump paid Daniels money to keep shut about her claims while he ran for the Presidential election in 2016. The case came out once again as the former US President seeks to win the election once again.

Trump denied the allegations of having physical relationship said Daniels. His prosecutors pushed for a mistrial midway through Daniel’s testimony, but failed. The trial was the biggest scene in the first criminal trail of a former US President, which is on its third week of testimony. The testimony is taking place in Manhattan.

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is a porn star and director. She started to appear in the adult films at the age of 23 and has directed more than 150 films. The hush money case centers on a $130,000 payment made by Trump to Daniels vis the Republican’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, during the final weeks of his 2016 election campaign. The prosecutors called the allegations to be a scheme to illegally influence the campaign by burying the negative stories.

Trump’s lawyer tries to establish that he was trying to protect the reputation him and his family and not the campaign by shielding them from the embarrassing stories about his personal life.

The meeting:

Daniels testified that she first met and talked with Trump in 2006 at Lake Toheo celebrity golf outing where her studio was also a sponsor. She said Trump referred to her as “the smart one” and asked if she wanted to go to dinner with him. Daniels said she accepted the invitation because she wanted to avoid having dinner with her co-workers, as reported by AP. She further added that dinner with Trump might also help her career. Trump also had his bodyguard get her number, said Daniels.

They met up at Trump’s penthouse. Daniels said she appreciated how Trump appeared to be interested in the business aspects of the industry rather than the “sexy stuff”. She said the Republican nominee even suggested putting her on his TV show, “The Apprentice”, which she though could help her establish herself as a writer and director.

Allegedly, the dinner did not went as she thought it to be, as she was taken to bed by Trump. Daniels recalled that though the encounter was brief, it left her “shaking”, and she felt like she “wanted to leave”.

Payment to keep shut:

When Daniels was asked if Trump ever asked her keep things between the two and not to speak about it, she answered, “absolutely not”. She said in 2011, she learned that a magazine know about the story of their encounter. She said she agreed to do an interview for $15,000 to make money and “control the narrative” of the story, but the story never ran. Prosecutors countered that Daniels’ testimony gets at what Trump was trying to hide and they were “very mindful” not to draw too much graphic detail. Before Daniels took the stand, they told the judge the testimony would be “really basic,” and would not “involve any details of genitalia”, as reported by AP.

When Trump was running for the Presidential election in 2016, Daniel authorised her manager to shop the story around but did not receive interest from any outlets. However, when the Access Hollywood, tape, in which Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women sexually without permission came out in October that year, Daniels learned that Cohen wants to buy her silence, said Daniels.

Push for mistrial:

midway through Daniels testimony, Donald Trump’s lawyer pushed for a mistrial. His lawyer Todd Blanche argued that Daniels’ testimony about the said encounter and other meetings with him had “nothing to do with the case”, and would unfairly prejudice the jury. However, the judge rejected it. The judge also faulted the defense attorneys for not raising more of their objections while she was testifying.

(With inputs from AP)