at the Trump trial, the defense attacks Stormy Daniels on her motivations

at the Trump trial, the defense attacks Stormy Daniels on her motivations
at the Trump trial, the defense attacks Stormy Daniels on her motivations

Porn star Stormy Daniels, at the center of Donald Trump’s historic trial, returned to testify in court in New York on Thursday, following a tense face-to-face with the former President of the United States and his lawyers, who sought to discredit her before the jury.

“You wanted to make more money, didn’t you?” : Donald Trump’s defense tried Thursday to discredit porn star Stormy Daniels during the second day of crucial and tension-filled testimony at the trial of the former President of the United States in New York. Already heard for five hours on Tuesday, the actress and director had delivered an unfiltered account of her meeting and the sexual relationship she claims to have had in 2006 with the current Republican presidential candidate, on the sidelines of a tournament celebrity golf course in Nevada.

A sexual relationship denied by Donald Trump but at the heart of the matter, because it was to keep silent ten years later about this episode that the actress received $130,000 from Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, under a duly signed confidentiality agreement. The former President of the United States, the first in history to appear in criminal proceedings, is being tried for the concealment, in the accounts of his holding company, the Trump Organization, of the reimbursement of sums to his lawyer. He is on trial for 34 crimes of accounting falsification, which could earn him a conviction and in theory up to a prison sentence. Donald Trump, 77, denounced Thursday upon his arrival in court, a “Frankenstein” file that “no one understands”.

“Protect my story”

Then, inside the outdated-looking courtroom with its old-fashioned wooden furniture and white neon chandeliers, one of his lawyers, Susan Necheles, continued her cross-examination that began Tuesday, seeking to pushing Stormy Daniels to her limits and portraying her as a money-hungry woman. “You wanted to make money?”, “You wanted to make more money, didn’t you?”, repeated the lawyer, on the reasons which had pushed her to negotiate a confidentiality agreement with Donald Trump.

“You were threatening political harm to President Trump if he didn’t give you money for this story?” she insisted. “I chose safety,” Stormy Daniels responded. “The best solution was to protect my story with a written record, so that my family would not be in danger,” she added. Susan Necheles continued. “You have also acted in and directed more than 150 pornographic films (…) so you have a lot of experience in the art of making fake sex real,” she told him. “I didn’t need to write that one,” she retorted.

The lawyer recalled Tuesday that Stormy Daniels still owes $600,000 in legal fees to the former president, after a defamation trial lost against him, and affirmed that she had every interest in seeing him convicted. Since April 15, Donald Trump has had to sit almost every day in the Manhattan courtroom and listen silently to the proceedings, an obligation that prevents him from campaigning as he pleases.

“Unbalanced balance of power”

On Tuesday, Stormy Daniels hid nothing about his meeting in 2006 with the real estate mogul: from the “silk or satin pajamas” he wore in his hotel suite, to the secrets about his wife – “we let’s not sleep in the same room” – right down to the fact that he didn’t use a condom. Stormy Daniels described her reaction when she came out of the bathroom to find the 60-year-old billionaire waiting for her undressed on his bed. “I felt the blood leave my hands,” she said. If she did not feel threatened, she assures that the businessman’s intention “was quite clear” and that the “balance of power was unbalanced”.

The defense denounced an unworthy and “extremely damaging” outburst for the Republican candidate, six months before his new duel against Joe Biden on November 5. Judge Juan Merchan agreed that certain passages of the testimony could have “remained silent.” A sign of the tension that reigned, he also asked Donald Trump’s lawyers to keep their client, who was “swearing audibly” during Stormy Daniels’ story, from reactions likely to “intimidate the witness.”

If the consequences for his campaign of a possible conviction are difficult to predict, an acquittal of Donald Trump would represent a victory for him. Especially since the trial in New York risks being the only one to be judged before the November 5 election, among the four criminal cases in which he is charged.

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