Tense exchanges as Trump lawyer spars with Stormy Daniels

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In a 2018 interview, Stormy Daniels told CBS News ‘I was threatened’

By Madeline Halpert & Kayla Epstein
in court

Donald Trump’s lawyer attacked Stormy Daniels’ credibility during heated cross-examination at the former president’s hush money trial.

“Am I correct that you hate President Trump?” asked Susan Necheles during tense questioning in New York that at points descended into a shouting match.

“Yes,” said the former adult-film star.

Ms Daniels’ alleged sexual encounter with Mr Trump is at the centre of the former president’s first criminal trial.

Mr Trump denies falsifying accounts to cover up a $130,000 hush-money payment to Ms Daniels.

Ms Daniels detailed time she says she spent with Mr Trump – an account that led to a combative cross-examination.

Ms Necheles, one of Mr Trump’s defence lawyers, worked to paint Ms Daniels as driven by hatred and a desire for money. Mr Trump has denied that the sexual encounter with her occurred.

The exchanges between the two women grew increasingly heated – they were nearly shouting – when Ms Necheles accused Ms Daniels of trying to extort Mr Trump through the hush-money deal.

“False,” Ms Daniels replied. “That’s what you did, right?” Ms Necheles said. “False!” Ms Daniels repeated.

Ms Daniels’ claim – that she received $130,000 (£103,000) from Mr Trump’s personal lawyer in 2016 in exchange for her silence about having sex with him 10 years earlier – is at the centre of the historic New York trial, the first criminal trial of a former US president.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal paying Ms Daniels to hide the alleged sexual encounter. He has denied all wrongdoing.

Earlier in the day, under questioning from the prosecution, Ms Daniels provided a detailed picture of her alleged encounters with Mr Trump.

But the star witness was repeatedly was reprimanded by the judge for her meandering answers.

“Ms Daniels, please just keep the answers short,” Justice Juan Merchan said.

Adding to the tension, lawyers for Mr Trump objected to nearly every question prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked Ms Daniel about the alleged encounter. Justice Merchan mostly sustained the objections, siding with the defence.

As the day went on, however, prosecutors objected to several of Ms Necheles’ questions on cross-examination. Those also were sustained.

BBC News reporters are in the Manhattan courtroom covering the historic first criminal trial of a former US president. You’ll find their updates and analysis on the BBC news website and app, and across TV, radio and podcasts.

Ms Daniels was allowed to walk jurors through some of her alleged encounter with Mr Trump inside his Lake Tahoe hotel suite in 2006.

Mr Trump was wearing silk pyjamas, she said, and asked her several “business-like” questions about her family, her upbringing and her work in the adult film industry.

At one point, he compared Ms Daniels to his daughter Ivanka, Ms Daniels said, saying that people underestimated both women because they were beautiful.

Ms Daniels also explained how the hush-money deal came to be, saying she first became interested in selling her story once she heard someone else was planning to.

“I’d rather make the money than someone making the money off of me,” she said.

By 2016, after Mr Trump had launched his campaign for president, Ms Daniels learned Mr Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, wanted to buy her story. The deal would be a win-win, Ms Daniels testified, because she did not want her then-partner to find out about her alleged encounter with Mr Trump.

But Ms Daniels claimed she was not particularly motivated by the money, saying on the stand she “didn’t care” about the sum she was eventually paid to her by Mr Cohen.

And Ms Daniels also laid out some of the specifics of the alleged deal, saying she would be forced to pay $1 million every time she violated the agreement and spoke out about her experience with Mr Trump.

Most of what Ms Daniels’ shared on Tuesday is not new information, it’s been shared by Ms Daniels in a number of interviews and in her memoir. But her story carries some added weight now, told face to face with Mr Trump as part of the unprecedented criminal charges brought against him.

30 April22 April4 days ago

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