Stormy Daniels rejects accusations of greed in Trump trial

In the hush money trial against former US President Donald Trump, former porn actress Stormy Daniels denied that she spoke about her alleged sex affair with the then real estate mogul out of greed for money. “I wanted the truth to come out,” Daniels said in court Thursday. The ex-president, meanwhile, accused the public prosecutor of making things up during the trial without any “recognizable crime.”

On his second day on the witness stand, Daniels was cross-examined by Trump's lawyers. Trump's defense claimed that she wanted to monetize her story with her book, which was published in 2018, for which she received $800,000 (around 742,000 euros in today's money). The 45-year-old replied that she wanted to document her story “so that my family wouldn't be harmed.”

Trump lawyer Susan Necheles suggested that the former porn actress had “a lot of experience making fictional stories about sex seem real.” Daniels countered that if her story about Trump had been untrue, “I would have done it a lot better.”

In the first criminal trial in history against a former US president, 77-year-old Trump is accused of covering up hush money paid to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election by falsifying business documents. He has pleaded not guilty and also denies having sex with the former porn star.

Trump called the trial a “Frankenstein case” on Thursday and complained again about the speech ban imposed on him. Trump is prohibited from making any statements that have a potential impact on the proceedings about witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, court employees and the public prosecutor's office. The ex-president said his side had appealed the ban but gave no details.

Daniels had already described her alleged sex affair with the then real estate mogul for five hours on Tuesday. The defendant Trump followed the statement with a stone face, but apparently also uttered curses in between – for which he earned a warning from the judge.

45-year-old Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told the New York courtroom in great detail about her encounter with Trump during a golf tournament at Lake Tahoe in the western United States in 2006. According to Clifford's descriptions, the ex-US President had invited her to his hotel suite. In court, she described Trump's “silk or satin pajamas,” boxer shorts and that they had brief sex in the “missionary position” and without a condom. She also slapped the real estate entrepreneur on the butt with a magazine with a photo of him on the cover.

Trump “didn’t threaten her verbally or physically” at the time, the witness said about their meeting at Lake Tahoe. But there was a “power difference” between her and the real estate mogul, who was 32 years her senior. She was “ashamed” of not stopping Trump and “not saying no.”

Trump, who was already married to his current wife Melania at the time and had recently had their son Barron, talked to her about the porn industry, among other things, and was “very interested in business matters.” He also suggested that she appear on his television show “The Apprentice.” According to Clifford, there were further meetings with Trump afterwards. She broke off contact when she realized that nothing would come of her appearance on his television show.

During Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, she wanted to go public with her Trump story. But she then signed a confidentiality agreement negotiated with then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and received $130,000, Clifford reported. During her testimony, Clifford looked Trump directly in the face several times, but he did not return the look.

In addition to the hush money case, Trump, who plans to run again in the November presidential election, is criminally charged in three other cases. In these three cases it is uncertain when the trials could begin.