New Phase in Trump Trial: Adult Film Star Stormy Daniels Takes the Stand

Daniels told jurors that she had an intimate relationship with Trump in 2006, which made her nervous and embarrassed, reports the Guardian

by Sededin Dedovic
New Phase in Trump Trial: Adult Film Star Stormy Daniels Takes the Stand
© Win McNamee / Getty Images

The trial of Donald Trump entered a new phase on Tuesday with the testimony of Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, regarding his scandal involving secret financial payments. As reported by The Guardian, Daniels told jurors that she had an intimate relationship with Trump in 2006, which made her nervous and ashamed.

"My hands were shaking so much that it was hard for me to get dressed," Daniels said to the jurors, stating that she went to Trump's hotel room at Lake Tahoe believing she would have dinner after a meeting. They had met earlier that day at a celebrity golf match across town.

Daniels was there representing Vicked Pictures, the company she worked for at the time, which was a sponsor of the event. "The players would come, you'd stand at your hole with your company's logo, you'd give them water or towels," she said.

They didn't talk much, but Daniels' boss told Trump that she wasn't just an actress but also directed. She remembers Trump telling her that she must be pretty smart if she directed movies, not just acted in them. They bumped into each other again in the room where event sponsors set up refreshment tables.

At one point, one of Trump's bodyguards came and told Daniels that Trump wanted her to join him for dinner. She declined. Daniels said she didn't reconsider the invitation until later when a dinner with people she didn't want to be around was scheduled.

Her colleague told her she should accept Trump's dinner invitation. "It will make a great story out of it, he's a business guy, what could go wrong?" she recalls his words to her. He thought it could be good for her career. She and Trump's bodyguard coordinated; she was directed to his hotel across town and was told to take a special elevator to the penthouse.

"He was wearing silk pajamas which I immediately mocked and asked: Does Mr. Hefner know you stole his pajamas?" she said, referring to the late pornographer and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

Former U.S.

President Donald Trump walks to speak to the media with attorney Todd Blanche at the end of the day during his trial© Win McNamee / Getty Images

She told him to change, and he agreed. Since it was still early, they decided to chat for a while before dinner.

Trump repeatedly criticized Daniels about her job, asking her, "What about testing? Do you worry about STDs?" He asked if she had been tested. "Yes, of course," she said. "He asked me, oh, so, have you ever had a bad test, I said: 'No, I can show you all my results,'" Daniels recalls.

She said there was also a brief conversation about Melania, Trump's wife, when he said they slept in separate rooms. Daniels said at one point she needed to use the restroom, and in the meantime, Trump went into the bedroom in the suite and lay on the bed in boxers and a T-shirt.

"I was initially just stunned," Daniels said. "I thought, Oh my God, what did I misinterpret to come here? The intention was quite clear if someone undresses to their underwear and lies on the bed." She tried to joke and leave, but he got up to persuade her.

"At any point did you end up on the bed and have an intimate relationship with him?" prosecutor Susan Hofinger asked. "Yes," Daniels said. Hofinger also attempted preemptive strikes against Daniels' main defense argument – that she is motivated not just by money but by a desire to testify because she owes Trump over a hundred thousand in legal fees after a failed lawsuit against him.

Daniels said that in 2011, a man approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot and threatened her. Her former lawyer, Michael Avenatti, released a sketch of the man, then filed a defamation lawsuit after Trump denied involvement.

She said she considered the defamation suit "risky" and that Avenatti filed it without her consent. The case was dismissed in Trump's favor, and Daniels now owes him over $500,000 in legal fees. When asked if Avenatti was still her lawyer, she replied with a decisive "no." Why? "Because I fired him and later he was convicted of theft," she said.

Prosecutors allege that in 2015, Trump, his then-lawyer Michael Cohen, and tabloid figure David Pecker planned to suppress stories that could thwart his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Cohen allegedly paid $130,000 in hush money to Daniels less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election to prevent her from going public about her alleged affair with Trump.

Cohen transferred the money to her lawyer through a limited liability company he set up specifically for the transaction, called Essential Consulting LLC. Allegedly, he used the LLC to shield the payment from being traced back to him and thus to Trump.

Prosecutors argue that Trump falsely listed these payments as legal services in business documents. Daniels' testimony followed a day after Judge Juan Mercan warned Trump that he could face jail if he continued to violate the order prohibiting the public disclosure of certain things.

Mercan's decision comes just days after he caught Trump violating the order and fined him $9,000 for other comments that breached the injunction prohibiting him from discussing witnesses or jurors. "As much as I don't want to impose a prison sentence, I want you to understand that I will if necessary," Mercan said.

Daniels' testimony and Mercan's warning mark a tough week for the defense. The trial will continue to be very dynamic, and with regard to the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, the eyes of almost the entire world are on it.