Trump hush money trial: Judge denies mistrial request; Stormy Daniels testifies

A New York judge on Tuesday declined to grant a request from former President Donald Trump’s attorneys seeking a mistrial after jurors heard hours of testimony from adult film star Stormy Daniels.

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Authorities said that days before voters hit the polls for the 2016 presidential election, Trump’s then-fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — to keep quiet about allegations that she had a sexual encounter with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied that the encounter took place.

Daniels testified that she and Trump had sex in 2006 after meeting at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada and that Cohen and Trump later offered her $130,000 to keep quiet about the tryst.

Trump calls prosecution’s case ‘a disaster’

Update 4:52 p.m. EDT May 7: Former President Donald Trump, in remarks after Tuesday’s proceedings, characterized the prosecution’s case as “a disaster.”

“This was a very big day, a very revealing day as you see their case is totally falling apart,” Trump told reporters. “They have nothing on books and records and even something that shouldn’t bear very little relationship to the case -- it’s just a disaster for the DA.”

Trump did not mention Stormy Daniels, who testified for nearly four hours on Tuesday.

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Jury dismissed for the day

Update 4:34 p.m. EDT May 7: Judge Juan Merchan excused the jury for the day. The trial will resume on Thursday.

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Daniels cross-examination will continue through Thursday

Update 4:26 p.m. EDT May 7: Trump’s attorney, Susan Necheles, confirmed that her cross-examination would continue into Thursday, CNN reported. Wednesday is an off-day for the trial.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger added she would have some questions on redirect.

Daniels testified for 3 hours, 33 minutes on Tuesday.

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Daniels acknowledges Trump story has made her money

Update 4 p.m. EDT May 7: Daniels conceded under questioning by Trump attorney Susan Necheles that her story about having had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 has made her a lot of money, The New York Times reported.

“It has also cost me a lot of money,” she added.

She said that the whole situation “taught me that I should tell the truth,” NBC News reported.

“In other words, it taught you that if you wanted to make money off of President Trump, you better talk about the sex,” Necheles said, according to the news network.

“No,” Daniels answered, “although that does seem to be the case.”

Daniels says she owes Trump $560K in legal fees

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT May 7: Daniels confirmed Tuesday that she owes Trump about $560,000 in legal fees after she lost a lawsuit in California spearheaded by her former attorney, Michael Cohen, NBC News reported.

At the time, Daniels said in a post on social media that she would “go to jail before I pay a penny.”

“That’s me saying I will not pay for telling the truth,” Daniels said in court on Tuesday, CNN reported. “My motivation was because I was telling the truth.”

Pressed by Necheles, Daniels said she did not know if she was going to pay Trump even after she was ordered to do so by a court, the news network reported.

Daniels on Trump: ‘I want him to be held accountable’

Update 3:25 p.m. EDT May 7: Under questioning from Trump attorney Susan Necheles, Daniels answered in the affirmative when asked if she hates Trump,” The New York Times reported.

“And you want him to go to jail?” Necheles asked.

“I want him to be held accountable,” Daniels answered.

She added, “If he is found guilty, absolutely,” according to NBC News.

Prosecutors wrap up questioning of Daniels

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT May 7: Prosecutors finished their direct examination of Daniels after hours of questioning on the stand.

She spent some time Tuesday afternoon talking about her former attorney, Michael Avenatti, who she hired to get her out of her non-disclosure agreement with Trump “so I could stand up for myself,” CNN reported.

She said that Avenatti filed a defamation claim against Trump against her wishes, a move she felt was too risky, according to The New York Times.

Avenatti was later convicted of stealing money from Daniels and other clients.

Daniels continues testimony on hush money payment

Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 7: Daniels resumed her testimony on Tuesday afternoon with questions from prosecutors about the hush money payment made by Cohen in 2016.

Daniels said she approved of canceling the deal before it went through “because the funds hadn’t been sent” by a deadline earlier set by her attorney in the negotiations, Keith Davidson, CNN reported. The deal was revived days later, and — after accounting for fees for her attorney and agent — she ended up getting about $96,000, the news network reported.

Judge declines to grant mistrial

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 7: Judge Juan Merchan declined to grant a request from Trump’s attorneys seeking a mistrial based on Daniels’ testimony, The New York Times reported.

Merchan acknowledged that as a witness, Daniels has been “a little bit difficult to control.” However, he said there were “guardrails in place,” according to the Times.

“I don’t think we’re at the point where a mistrial is warranted,” he said.

Prosecutor argues Daniels’ testimony ‘highly probative’ of Trump’s motives for hush money payment

Update 2:15 p.m. EDT May 7: Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger argued Tuesday that Daniels’ testimony is “highly probative” of Trump’s intent and his “motive for paying this off” after the former president’s attorneys moved for a mistrial, citing Daniels’ testimony, CNN reported.

“This is not new,” Hoffinger said, according to the news network. “This is not a new account.”

She argued that Daniels’ story “is precisely what the defendant did not want to become public” and that defense attorneys opened the door for her testimony by introducing a text message into evidence during questioning of an earlier witness that referenced a threat made against Daniels in 2011, CNN reported.

Trump’s attorneys move for mistrial

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT May 7: Trump’s attorneys asked Judge Juan Merchan to grant a mistrial on Tuesday, pointing to testimony from Daniels.

Todd Blanche, an attorney for the former president, argued that her testimony has been overly prejudicial, accusing the prosecution of asking questions “to inflame this jury,” according to The New York Times. He said that the court set “guardrails” for Daniels’ testimony and argued that she went over them, CNN reported.

“She talked about a consensual encounter with President Trump that she was trying to sell. ... and that’s not the story she told today,” he said, according to the news network. “But now we’ve heard it. And it is an issue. How can you unring the bell?”

It is not uncommon for attorneys to ask for a mistrial, though it would be a surprise if Merchan granted the request.

Court breaks for lunch

Update 1:20 p.m. EDT May 7: Court broke for lunch on Tuesday afternoon, with plans to return for more testimony at 2 p.m.

Daniels says Trump, Cohen offered her $130K in hush money

Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified that Trump and Cohen offered her $130,000 to keep quiet about her tryst with Trump after the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced ahead of the 2016 presidential election, CNN reported.

“They were interested in paying for the story,” she said in court, describing it as “the best thing that could’ve happened ... because then I’d be safe and the story wouldn’t come out.”

She said that concerns about her safety grew out of an encounter she had in a parking lot in Las Vegas after she did an interview with In Touch magazine about her encounter with Trump, NBC News reported. She testified that she had agreed to do an interview with the publication for $15,000 in 2011 because “I’d rather make the money than somebody make money off of me, and at least I could control the narrative,” according to The Associated Press.

Though the story never ran, Daniels said she was later threatened by a stranger in Las Vegas who warned her to keep quiet.

Daniels says she stopped taking Trump’s calls after he said he couldn’t get her on TV

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified that she last saw Trump in person in 2007 and that she stopped taking his calls after he told her that he had been “overruled” and could not get her on his reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” CNN reported.

She said she answered one last call from him in which he told her that he didn’t know that adult film star Jenna Jameson would be on the show, adding that he thought she’d be mad but she “didn’t care,” the news network reported.

She said that she has not spoken to Trump since.

Daniels testified that before running for president, Trump didn’t say their encounter should be secret

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT May 7: After Daniels said she and Trump had sex in his hotel room in 2006, she testified that he never told her that she should keep quiet about the encounter.

“I told lots and lots of people that I had gone to his room and I met him. It wasn’t a secret at all,” Daniels said, according to CNN. “The sex part I told very few, very close people.”

She said that in a meeting the next year at Trump Tower, Trump greeted her warmly and introduced her to everyone, The New York Times reported. She said that in the last in-person meeting she had with Trump — which took place in Los Angeles in 2007 — he did not tell her to keep their encounter secret, according to the newspaper.

Daniels says she began talking to Trump often after sexual encounter

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified Tuesday that she saw Trump again the day after their sexual encounter in 2006 after his bodyguard asked if she would meet Trump at a night club, CNN reported. She said that she agreed because the meeting would be in public.

Afterward, she testified that she and Trump began speaking by phone regularly, sometimes two or three times a week, NBC News reported. She saw him again in 2007 at the launch of his Trump vodka brand, according to CNN.

“I wanted to maintain that sort of relationship because the chance to be on ‘The Apprentice’ was still up in the air,” she said. “It would have been a great thing.”

She added that Trump introduced her to former Playboy model Karen McDougal — another woman who was paid hush money before the 2016 election — at the 2007 party.

Daniels testifies that she had sex with Trump

Update 12 p.m. EDT May 7: Answering a question from the prosecution, Daniels testified that she had sex with Trump in his hotel room in 2006, NBC News reported.

She said that afterward, he said to her, “Oh it was great, let’s get together again honey bunch,” the news network reported.

“I just left as fast as I could,” she said.

Trump’s attorneys objected several times to questions posed by the prosecution, and Judge Juan Merchan sustained many of them, The New York Times reported. Earlier, he said that the jury did not need to hear details about Trump and Daniels’ alleged sexual encounter.

Daniels says she found Trump on the bed after she used hotel suite’s bathroom

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified that she found Trump on the bed in a T-shirt and boxer shorts when she returned to his room after using the bathroom in his hotel suite, The New York Times reported. She said that she had been planning to leave but Trump was between her and the exit, according to the newspaper.

“I felt the blood leave my hands and my feet almost like if you stand up too fast,” Daniels testified, according to CNN. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, what did I misread to get here?’”

She said that she “blacked out,” though she emphasized that she had not had alcohol or drugs. the Times reported.

“He stood up between me and the door,” she said, according to CNN. “Not in a threatening manner. He didn’t come at me, he didn’t rush at me. Nothing like that.”

Court back in session after brief break

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 7: Court resumed Tuesday morning after a brief break, CNN reported. Testimony is expected to continue until 1 p.m., when proceedings will pause for a lunch break.

Daniels describes Trump as arrogant, pompous; says she spanked him with magazine

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 7: Daniels said in court that after she met Trump for dinner in 2006, he at one point brought out a magazine with his face on the cover, CNN reported.

She told him that she hadn’t seen it, she testified.

“Not like I made a habit of reading financial magazines as a 27-year-old stripper,” she said, according to CNN.

She added that she snapped at him, “Are you always this rude? Are you always this arrogant and pompous? You don’t even know how to have a conversation.” On the stand, she said she had “pretty much had enough of his arrogance and cutting me off and still not getting my dinner,” NBC News reported.

She said she spanked him with the rolled up magazine, after which she said that “he was much more polite.”

Trump appeared to mouth an expletive as Daniels recalled the incident, according to The New York Times.

Daniels says she asked Trump about his wife

Update 11:25 a.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified that during her 2006 meeting with Trump, she asked him about his wife, Melania, who he had married a year before their encounter, The New York Times and CNN reported.

She said that Trump told her not to worry about Melania because they did not “even sleep in the same room,” according to the Times. The comment earned a head shake from Trump in court, CNN reported.

Court has adjourned for a brief break before Daniels is expected to continue her testimony.

Daniels describes meeting Trump for dinner

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified that she met Trump at his hotel suite for dinner after they met in 2006 and that he greeted her in “silk or satin” pajamas, cracking a joke about his resemblance to late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, The New York Times reported.

She said that after she asked him to change, he came back in standard dress clothes, according to the newspaper. At the time, it was not yet dark out, and since it was early, she said that Trump asked if they could chat for a bit and get to know one another, CNN reported. They spoke about her childhood and upbringing, and she told Trump in response to a question that she didn’t have any children, a husband or a boyfriend, according to the news network.

Daniels testifies about meeting Trump in 2006

Update 11 a.m. EDT May 7: Daniels told the jury on Tuesday about meeting Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in July 2006, according to CNN.

She called it “a brief encounter” and added that Trump was “as old or older than my father,” the news network and The New York Times reported.

At the time, Daniels was 27 and working for adult film company Wicked Pictures, which had a table at the tournament where celebrities could stop to pose for photos, according to NBC News.

Daniels said she later saw Trump in the tournament’s gift room and that he remembered her, CNN reported. She said Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller, subsequently asked if she would have dinner with Trump, but she emphatically declined. She testified that she changed her mind after her publicist encouraged her to go, according to CNN.

At the time, Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice” was at the height of its popularity, the Times reported.

Daniels shares how she started in adult industry

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT May 7: Daniels testified Tuesday about her childhood and how she ended up becoming an adult film star under questioning from prosecutors.

Daniels said she had a tough childhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The New York Times reported. Her parents split when she was young and her family struggled with poverty, she said.

“My mother was very neglectful,” Daniels testified, according to CNN. “She would disappear for days at a time.”

She said she moved out when she was 17 and that she ended up getting into exotic dancing by accident after a friend told her that she was a dancer, the news network reported.

“They didn’t bother to check my ID, so I started dancing on the weekends, which was actually kind of cool because I didn’t have to miss any classes,” she said, according to NBC News.

Four years later, she began nude modeling, and two years after that she did her first pornographic film, CNN and the Times reported. She went on to write and direct adult films and appear in mainstream movies, including “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” according to the Times.

Prosecutors call Stormy Daniels to the stand

Update 10:35 a.m. EDT May 7: Stormy Daniels has been called to the stand to testify in Trump’s criminal trial in New York.

Jurors appeared to perk up when Daniels’ name was called, The New York Times reported. After being sworn in, she told jurors that she was testifying because she had been subpoenaed, according to CNN.

Excerpts read in court from Trump’s books

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT May 7: Sally Franklin, who works for publisher Penguin Random House, read excerpts from two of Trump’s books, “Trump: How to Get Rich” and “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire” in court on Tuesday, according to CNN, The New York Times and The Associated Press.

Among the excerpts read were:

  • “If you don’t know every aspect of what you’re doing, down to the paper clips, you’re setting yourself up for some unwanted surprises.”
  • “For many years, I’ve said that if someone screws you, screw them back.”
  • “When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.”
  • “All the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me.”
  • “I received a check for 50 cents and we at the Trump Organization deposited it. They may call that cheap. I called it watching the bottom line. Penny pinching, you bet, I’m all for it.”
  • “As I said before, I always sign my checks so I know where my money’s going. ... In the same spirit, I also always try to read my bills to make sure I’m not being over-charged.”

Under questioning from Trump attorney Todd Blanche, Franklin acknowledged that Trump worked with a ghostwriter for both books, CNN reported. However, she emphasized to prosecutor Rebecca Mangold, “The ghostwriter works for the author,” the news network reported.

First witness called to the stand for Tuesday: Sally Franklin

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 7: The first witness called to the stand Tuesday was Sally Franklin, a senior vice president and records custodian at Penguin Random House, The Washington Post and NBC News reported.

Franklin is appearing as a custodial witness, meaning that she will get evidence entered into the case that Trump’s attorneys have not agreed to allow in, according to The New York Times. She will testify about two books written by Trump and published by a Penguin Random House imprint, Ballantine: “Trump: How to Get Rich” and “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” the newspaper reported.

Trump’s attorney: Daniels to be second witness called Tuesday

Update 9:40 a.m. EDT May 7: Trump attorney Susan Necheles said in court that they have learned Daniels will be the second witness called to the stand on Tuesday, NBC News and CNN reported.

Necheles confirmed Daniels’ expected apperance while making an objection at the start of court proceedings.

“We want to renew our objection to her testifying, particularly about any details of any sexual acts,” she said, according to CNN.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger argued that Daniels’ testimony is “significant” to the case and said that salacious details would not be admitted, The New York Times reported. Judge Juan Merchan said it would be up to the jury to determine Daniels’ credibility but agreed that “we don’t need to know the details,” according to CNN.

Original report: Clark Brewster told The Associated Press that his client is “likely” to be called as a witness on Tuesday. She was spotted Tuesday morning at the courthouse, The New York Times reported.

The payment to Daniels is key to the case against Trump. Prosecutors said it was made to help Trump in the 2016 presidential election and that Trump’s reimbursement to Cohen was wrongfully labeled as legal fees in business records. At the time the payment was made, the Trump campaign was grappling with public fallout following the release of never-before-seen 2005 “Access Hollywood” footage in which Trump could be heard bragging about touching women without their consent.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump took to his Truth Social platform to complain that he had “recently been told who the witness is today” and that the notification left “no time for lawyers to prepare,” NBC News reported.

“This is unprecedented,” he wrote in a post that was deleted minutes after going up on Truth Social, according to the news network. He added, “No Judge has ever run a trial in such a biased and partisan way.”

The post was quickly deleted one day after Judge Juan Merchan ordered Trump to pay an additional $1,000 after finding he violated a gag order issued in the case. The fine brought the total for Trump to $10,000 after earlier rulings found he violated the gag order in nine online posts.

Merchan warned Monday that Trump could face jail time if he failed to stop talking about jurors, prosecutors or potential witnesses involved in the case.

Trump is accused of illegally covering up hush money payments made to silence allegations of marital infidelity in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. He has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

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