Stormy Daniels’ Claim ‘Shattered’ During Cross-Examination—Legal Analyst

Adult film star Stormy Daniels’ claim of not trying to get money from former President Donald Trump was “shattered” during her cross-examination in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, legal analyst and attorney Jonathan Turley said on Saturday.

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee, became the first former president in U.S. history to stand trial in a criminal case last month. Following an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, Trump was indicted in March 2023 on 34 counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money paid to Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels had alleged she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which he has denied. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges and said the case against him is politically motivated.

Daniels testified this week that in 2011 she did an interview with In Touch about her 2006 sexual encounter with Trump for a story that never ran. When asked about her motives she said she heard that someone had sold a story about the encounter to a magazine and that she would “rather make money than people make money off of me.” She added that if she was the one to share her story, she “could control the narrative.”

In 2016, Daniels’ former publicist Gina Rodriguez was trying to sell her story to news outlets. When asked if she had any intention of approaching Trump or his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for a deal, Daniels testified: “No. My motivation wasn’t money. It’s to get the story out.”

However, Daniels ended up signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) after finding out that Trump and Cohen were interested in buying the rights to her story, according to court testimony. Daniels said of the $130,000, “I didn’t care about the amount. It was just to get it done.”

However, Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School who has been highly critical of the district attorney’s office prosecuting Trump, claimed that Daniels’ story all fell apart when she was cross-examined.

“The cross examination was devastating. It shattered her laughable claim that she had not really been seeking money in shaking Trump down for a non-disclosure agreement, a claim contradicted by her own former lawyer,” Turley wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill published on Saturday.

When asked by Newsweek which parts of Daniels’ testimony hurt her claim of not being motivated by money, Turley pointed to a taped conversation between Daniels and her former lawyer Keith Davidson that was played for the court.

Jonathan Turley
Attorney Jonathan Turley is seen on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Adult film star Stormy Daniels’ claim of not trying to get money from former President Donald Trump was “shattered” during her…

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles pressed Daniels about Cohen delaying the hush money payment as the 2016 election neared.

She asked Daniels, “And didn’t you scream at your lawyer, Keith Davidson, and call him a ‘p****’ and tell him, ‘You better get money before the election. Otherwise, you ‘would lose all’ your ‘leverage and’ your ‘story would be worth zero;’ you told him that; didn’t you?”

Daniels said she “never yelled at Keith Davidson on the phone.”

Turley also mentioned to Newsweek when Necheles accused Daniels of capitalizing off the encounter with Trump after the story eventually came out.

Necheles asked Daniels, “So, even though you had agreed that you would not discuss this supposed story, and you had received a lot of money for that Agreement, you then decided you wanted to publicly say that you had sex with President Trump; right ?”

“No. Nobody would ever want to publicly say that,” Daniels quipped. “I wanted to publicly defend myself after people attacking me after Michael Cohen told about the story.”

Necheles then went into the various interviews Daniels did, her book deal, her “Make America Horny Again” strip tour she did, and merchandise she sold following the story’s release. Daniels testified that the name of the tour was not her idea and that she “fought it tooth and nail.”

Turley told Newsweek via email on Saturday: “What emerged from [Daniels’] testimony was a combination of personal animus and a desire for financial gain.”

Meanwhile, attorney and legal analyst Norm Eisen praised Daniels’ “toughness” during her cross-examination.

“Some witnesses just do better under the pressure of cross-examination, and I thought her toughness really came out for the jury,” he previously told Newsweek.

“Oh, jeez, back to the cross on the ‘Make America Horny Again’ tour promotions. 🙄,” lawyer George Conway, a frequent Trump critic, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday, suggesting that the defense was harping on the subject.