Trump’s lawyer presses Stormy Daniels on day 14 of hush money trial | Donald Trump News

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Defence team questions adult film star over hush money payment at heart of case against former US president.

Donald Trump’s defence lawyer is cross-examining adult film star Stormy Daniels, the most high-profile witness to testify so far in the former United States president’s New York criminal trial.

Daniels’s account of an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 riveted jurors earlier this week and served as a reminder to US voters of the more lurid aspects of the real estate developer-turned-politician as he campaigns to win back the White House this year.

On Thursday, Trump lawyer Susan Necheles grilled Daniels on the transaction at the centre of Trump’s hush money trial.

Necheles pressed Daniels on why she accepted a $130,000 payment to keep quiet about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump instead of going public.

“Why didn’t you do that?” Necheles asked, wondering why Daniels didn’t hold a news conference in 2016, as she had initially planned, to tell reporters about her encounter with Trump, which the former president denies ever happened.

“Because we were running out of time,” Daniels said.

Necheles asked if she meant that she was running out of time to use the claim to make money. “To get the story out,” Daniels countered.

The negotiations happened in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, a critical point in the case against Trump because prosecutors are arguing that he and his allies buried potentially damaging stories to influence the election results.

The former president faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records pertaining to the alleged hush money payment made to silence Daniels.

Trump, the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee in November’s election, denies any wrongdoing.

Daniels’s testimony has been an extraordinary moment in what could be the only criminal case against Trump to go to trial before voters decide whether to send him back to the White House.

He faces three other criminal indictments, including two that relate to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden.

In the New York hush money case, Daniels testified on Thursday that as she negotiated a nondisclosure agreement with Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen, she was also talking with journalists as a “backup” plan.

Necheles accused her of refusing to share the story with reporters because she wouldn’t be paid for it. “The better alternative was for you to get money, right?” Necheles said.

Daniels said she was most interested in getting her story out and ensuring her family’s safety.

“The better alternative was to get my story protected with a paper trail so that my family didn’t get hurt,” Daniels replied.

Speaking to reporters on his way into court Thursday, Trump called it a “Frankenstein case”.

“It’s not a recognisable crime that any of us have seen,” he said. “This is a prosecutor making it up as he goes along.”

Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the case, has imposed a gag order on Trump prohibiting him from publicly attacking witnesses. Trump has already been fined and held in contempt of court 10 times for violating the order.



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