Lunes 20 de Mayo 2024

Actress Stormy Daniels recounts encounter with Donald Trump; paid $130,000 to silence her

This case adds to the list of reasons why the former president might not be reelected in the 2024 elections

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Former pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, at the center of the case that has brought Donald Trump to trial, described in detail on Tuesday her alleged sexual encounter in 2006 at a hotel. 

Trump, 77, is accused of falsifying 34 accounting documents to conceal the $130,000 payment intended to buy Daniels' silence, in the final stretch of the 2016 elections, which the Republican magnate won against Hillary Clinton. 

Trump disguised the payment to the actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, as legal expenses of his then personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who had advanced the money from his own pocket, through the family company Trump Organization. 

Daniels' testimony was one of the most anticipated in this trial, now in its third week, which has shed light on the backstage of his 2016 campaign when he was haunted by past sexual scandals. 

"The prosecution calls Stormy Daniels," said prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, as the magnate looked on impassively, dressed in a blue suit and gold tie, flanked by his lawyers in the old courtroom in Manhattan. 

What followed was a graphic testimony about the sexual encounter that Daniels said she had with Trump—his underwear, the sexual position, the fact that he did not use a condom—while the former president watched in silence, unperturbed. 

Trump has denied such a relationship with Daniels, and his defense unsuccessfully tried to have the trial dismissed. 

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, which will resume on Thursday, Trump called the case a "disgrace" and said he "should be campaigning right now" for his long-awaited desire to win the U.S. presidency in the November elections. 

Judge Juan Merchan has prohibited Trump from speaking about the witnesses, the jury, and the court personnel, so he did not directly comment on Daniels' appearance on the stand. 

Daniels, 45, said she met Trump at a golf tournament at Lake Tahoe when she was hired as a hostess for the pornographic film production company Wicked Entertainment. 

Stormy Daniels shows graphic scenes and the "silk pajamas" 

She was 27 and he was "probably older than my father," she said. 

"Mr. Trump said he wanted to have dinner with me," the witness recounted. When she arrived at the Republican's hotel suite - "three times bigger than my apartment" - he received her in "silk or satin pajamas" which he later changed for a shirt and street pants. 
Daniels said she went to the bathroom and when she returned to the room Trump "was in bed" in his underwear and a T-shirt. 

"I was surprised," she said. "The intention was quite clear." 

"I was not threatened verbally or physically." They had sex in bed, "in the missionary position," and Trump did not use a condom, she said. 

"I felt ashamed for not stopping him, for not saying no," Daniels confessed. They met other times, but she lost contact when it became clear that she would not participate in the magnate's famous reality TV show "The Apprentice" as he had promised her. 

When Trump announced his candidacy for president, Daniels said her publicist gave her the contact of Keith Davidson, a Hollywood lawyer, to sell her story. 

"I wasn't interested in the money, I wanted it to be known," Daniels said. 

Davidson ended up negotiating a confidentiality agreement with Michael Cohen, then Trump's personal lawyer, in October 2016, on the eve of the presidential elections, for which he received $130,000. 

Daniels said her life turned into "chaos" in 2018, when The Wall Street Journal published a report about her encounter with Trump in 2006. 

Defense of Donald Trump requests annulment of testimony 

During cross-examination, Trump's lawyer Susan Necheles tried to undermine Daniels' credibility by accusing her of wanting to "extort" the magnate. 

"False," she replied. "Have you made money claiming to have had sexual relations with Donald Trump?" the lawyer insisted. 

"No," Daniels replied, "I have made money by telling the story of what happened to me," she said. 

Before cross-examination, another of Trump's lawyers, Todd Blanche, filed a motion to dismiss the trial because Daniels said she had been threatened in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011 not to talk about Trump. 

Judge Juan Merchan denied the motion. 

In addition to the New York case, Trump is accused in Washington and Georgia of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 elections won by Biden, and of taking highly classified documents to his Florida home that could compromise state security when his presidency ended in 2021. 

With information from AFP