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Four big takeaways from Day 13 of Trump’s hush money trial

todayMay 8, 2024


Former U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Todd Blanche, attorney for Trump, at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US, on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Jurors on Tuesday heard a graphic description of the alleged sexual encounter Donald Trump sought to bury ahead of the 2016 presidential election for fear of it torpedoing his campaign. And instead of a tabloid audience, adult film star Stormy Daniels’ account on Tuesday had the attention of a jury.

It was the first time Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels had come face-to-face in more than a decade.

Trump is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records to hide the reimbursement of a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels in order to boost his electoral prospects in the 2016 election. The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

Daniels’ description of sex, the absence of a condom, and other salacious details prompted repeated objections from attorneys for Trump, often at his urging. His legal team later mounted an unsuccessful bid for a mistrial, citing the “extraordinarily prejudicial” commentary from Daniels.

Under cross-examination, Trump attorney Susan Necheles succeeded in drawing out Daniels’ animosity for Trump — but appeared to fall short of challenging core elements of the case, or even Daniels’ recollection of the alleged encounter.

The trial resumes Thursday morning with Daniels returning to the stand.

Here are four takeaways from Day 13 of the trial:

Daniels details alleged sexual encounter with Trump

Stormy Daniels testified in vivid detail on Tuesday about her alleged tryst with Donald Trump nearly two decades ago — an encounter that Trump continues to deny — providing jurors with in-depth and at times graphic depictions of her alleged night with the former president.

“At some point did you end up on the bed having sex with him?” prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked.

“Yes,” Daniels said. “I had my clothes and my shoes off. I believe my bra was still on.”

“What, if anything, do you remember other than having sex with him?” Hoffinger asked.

“I was staring at the ceiling and didn’t know how I got there,” Daniels said.

“Do you remember how your clothes got off?” Hoffinger asked.

“No,” Daniels said.

“Did you end up having sex with him on the bed?” Hoffinger asked.

“Yes,” Daniels said.

“Did you touch his skin?” Hoffinger asked.

“Yes,” Daniels said.

“Was he wearing a condom?” Hoffinger asked.

“No,” Daniels said.

“Was that concerning to you?” Hoffinger asked.

“Yes,” Daniels said.

When it was over, Daniels quoted Trump as saying, “We have to get together again soon.” She said he never expressed any concern about his wife Melania finding out.

Trump urges attorneys to raise objections

As Stormy Daniels laid out her explicit recollections of the alleged night in question, Trump repeatedly motioned for his attorney Susan Necheles to intervene.

When her testimony approached the moment the two allegedly became intimate, Trump motioned to Necheles for her to object, which she did. Judge Juan Merchan summoned both parties to the bench and subsequently sustained the objection.

It was one of several moments in which Trump took on his most active engagement so far in the proceedings.

Judge denies motion for mistrial, cites lack of objections

Following Daniels’ direct examination, Trump attorney Todd Blanche moved for a mistrial, citing Daniels’ “extraordinarily prejudicial” testimony.

“The guardrails by this witness answering questions by the government were just thrown to the side,” Blanche said. “How can you un-ring a bell?”

Prosecutors pushed back, arguing that Daniels’ testimony was relevant to restore her credibility after defense counsel attacked her in their opening statement.

Ultimately, Judge Merchan sided with the district attorney, saying, “I don’t believe we are at the point where a mistrial is warranted” — and citing, in part, the failure of Trump’s legal team to raise more objections during Daniel’s testimony.

“There are some things that would have been better left unsaid,” Merchan acknowledged, and said the “witness was a little difficult to control.” But he ultimately concluded that “there were guardrails in place,” and the appropriate remedy was not a mistrial, but cross-examination.

Daniels jousts with Trump’s attorney

“You’re making this up as you sit here, right?” defense attorney Susan Necheles thundered during a testy cross-examination of Stormy Daniels in which Necheles questioned Daniels’ credibility and played up her animosity toward Trump.

During the scathing back-and-forth between the two, Necheles elicited from Daniels that she “hated” Trump and “wanted him to be held accountable.”

Judge Merchan stepped in several times to play referee as questioning descended into something more akin to a schoolyard dispute than a high-stakes trial.

Daniels at one point raised her voice when she was shown a tweet of hers that said, “I don’t owe him s— and I’ll never give that orange turd a dime.”

“That’s you calling President Trump names, correct?” Necheles asked.

“In retaliation for him calling me names,” Daniels responded.

“You call him names all the time, right?” Necheles asked. “You despise him.”

Daniels responded that she was countering the names he called her that the jury previously saw, namely “Horseface” and “Sleazebag.”

“Cause he made fun of me first,” Daniels said.

The cross-examination will continue when court resumes Thursday morning.

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