“Extortion”, “sex tape” affair…: Trump’s defense tries to discredit Stormy Daniels’ lawyer

“Extortion”, “sex tape” affair…: Trump’s defense tries to discredit Stormy Daniels’ lawyer
“Extortion”, “sex tape” affair…: Trump’s defense tries to discredit Stormy Daniels’ lawyer

Negotiations or “extortion”: Donald Trump’s defense did everything Thursday to discredit the lawyer of former porn star Stormy Daniels, cited as a witness, and through him the transaction at the heart of the criminal trial in New York the former president of the United States.

Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump, awaits the start of his trial in Manhattan Criminal Court, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in New York. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool).Donal Trump

KEYSTONE

In this case with enormous political stakes for him, the Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election is being prosecuted for 34 falsifications of accounting documents.

They would have been used to hide the payment of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels in the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, won narrowly against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This sum was used to buy her silence about a sexual relationship that she claimed to have had with Donald Trump in 2006, when he was already married to his wife Melania. A relationship that Donald Trump denies.

For two days of hearing, the actress’s former lawyer, Keith Davidson, has detailed for the jurors the underside of this negotiation that he carried out directly with Donald Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen.

But under the eyes of the former president, gold tie and navy blue suit, his defense did not miss the opportunity to paint an unflattering portrait of the witness and his methods.

The latter had made a specialty of monetizing silence on embarrassing secrets from celebrities, practices described as “extortion” by one of Donald Trump’s lawyers, Emil Bove, who bombarded the witness with questions.

Hulk Hogan

During a tense exchange, Keith Davidson had to concede that he had been the subject of a federal investigation – which resulted in no prosecution – after having negotiated the sale to the former star of the wrestle Hulk Hogan from a “sex tape” about him. “I made a financial request” on behalf of clients, “I made no threat,” he defended himself.

The lawyer also had to admit that he had told Michael Cohen: “If he (Donald Trump) loses the election, and he will lose it, we lose all means of pressure.”

Finally, a confidentiality contract was signed on October 28, 2016, a few days before the presidential election. The $130,000 was paid by Michael Cohen, via a shell company. He was reimbursed in 2017 by Donald Trump’s holding company, the Trump Organization, for expenses recorded as “legal expenses”, hence the prosecution for falsification of accounting documents.

Michael Cohen, who says he acted at the request of the candidate, has not yet testified. The whole point of the affair will be to determine what Donald Trump knew about these behind-the-scenes negotiations.

On Thursday, jurors were able to hear an audio recording, already known, of a private conversation in which Michael Cohen spoke to him of a payment to obtain the silence of another woman, the model Karen McDougal, who also claimed to have had a adventure with the billionaire.

95% Democrats

In the midst of the campaign to return to the White House, Donald Trump risks in this case the first criminal conviction of a former American president.

Before the resumption of the debates on Thursday, Judge Juan Merchan examined a new burst of unbridled declarations from the tempestuous candidate outside the courtroom, vituperating against Michael Cohen, who had become his number one enemy, or against the jurors, described as “95% Democrats “. Prosecutors denounced new violations of the ban ordered by the magistrate on insulting jurors or witnesses.

Another lawyer for Donald Trump, Todd Blanche, defended the urgency of protecting his freedom of expression. The implication, “is that the jury is not fair,” said the judge, who warned the accused that he was ready to incarcerate him so that he would stop his attacks. He did not rule Thursday.

For his part, Donald Trump once again mentioned the trial on his Truth Social network, but to deny that he falls asleep during the hearing, which sometimes seems the case when he sinks, eyes closed, on his armchair.

Three years after leaving the White House in chaos, Donald Trump enters the campaign being indicted in four cases, including that before the federal courts in Washington for accusations of illegal attempts to reverse the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden in 2020.

But due to appeals and procedural questions, the trial in New York, of a smaller scale, could be the only one tried before the November 5 election. The debates resume on Friday.

ATS

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