Trump awaits the start of his trial in New York on May 6

Trump Lawyer Challenges Stormy Daniels’ Account of Encounter with Trump

NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) – In the ongoing legal battle surrounding a 2006 sexual encounter between former President Donald Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels, Trump’s lawyer launched a vigorous questioning of Daniels’ testimony. The move aimed to highlight alleged inconsistencies in her various accounts, casting doubt on her credibility as a key witness in the first criminal trial involving a sitting or former U.S. president.

A courtroom sketch of former US President Donald Trump watching as Stormy Daniels testifies during his criminal trial in New York City on May 7
A courtroom sketch of former US President Donald Trump watching as Stormy Daniels testifies during his criminal trial in New York City on May 7

During her compelling testimony earlier in the week, Daniels recounted a controversial sexual liaison with Trump in a Lake Tahoe hotel suite while he was married to Melania Trump. Her vivid narrative captivated jurors and reignited public interest in the scandalous episodes of Trump’s presidency, coinciding with his bid to reclaim the White House.

Under intense questioning by defense lawyer Susan Necheles in a Manhattan courtroom, Daniels steadfastly stood by her version of events. Despite attempts to discredit her testimony, Daniels maintained her stance, declaring, “You’re trying to make me say that it changed, but it hasn’t changed.”

Trump, who faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s payment of $130,000 to Daniels for her silence ahead of the 2016 presidential election, vehemently denies any sexual involvement with Daniels. He has framed the trial as a politically motivated attack on his campaign.

Prosecutors argue that Trump’s efforts to conceal the payment corrupted the 2016 election, depriving voters of crucial information. However, Trump’s legal team contends that Daniels’ detailed testimony about the alleged encounter, including intimate details, is irrelevant to the case and could prejudice jurors against him.

In a dramatic twist, Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche renewed a request for a mistrial based on Daniels’ testimony, arguing that it veered into prejudicial territory. Despite his plea, Justice Juan Merchan denied the motion, maintaining that prosecutors were entitled to rehabilitate Daniels’ credibility.

The trial also witnessed a request to loosen a gag order restricting Trump’s public comments on jurors and witnesses. However, the judge rejected the request, emphasizing the need to preserve the integrity of the proceedings.

In a gripping cross-examination, Necheles challenged Daniels on inconsistencies between her earlier accounts and her testimony. She pressed Daniels on why certain details were omitted from her accounts, suggesting that she “made all this up.” However, Daniels vehemently refuted the accusation.

As Daniels concluded her testimony after seven hours on the witness stand, former Trump aide Madeline Westerhout took the stand, providing insight into checks signed by Trump during his tenure. With the trial marking the first of four criminal cases against Trump, the legal battle continues to unfold, with the former president maintaining his innocence.


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