Stormy Daniels at trial says Trump greeted her in satin pyjamas

Stormy Daniels at trial says Trump greeted her in satin pyjamas
Stormy Daniels at trial says Trump greeted her in satin pyjamas

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump walks, as his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 continues, at Manhattan state court in New York City May 6, 2024. — Reuters pool pic

NEW YORK, May 7 — Stormy Daniels testified Donald Trump was wearing satin pyjamas when he welcomed her to his hotel suite at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006, after she took the stand today at his criminal trial in a long-awaited showdown between the former US president and the porn star who says they had sex.

Daniels, 45, is at the center of the first criminal trial of a former president. Prosecutors say Trump, 77, covered up a US$130,000 (RM61,594)hush money payment his former lawyer Michael Cohen made to Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Cohen has previously said Trump directed him to pay Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, took the stand wearing all black, with black-framed glasses.

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She said the company she had been working for at the time had sponsored one of the holes at the Lake Tahoe golf tournament at which Trump was a competitor.

She said she met Trump during a brief introduction at a meet and greet with adult actresses and golfers. Trump took note when an associate mentioned Daniels directed films, too.

“He said, ‘Oh, you direct too - you must be the smart one,’” Daniels testified.

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Daniels told jurors that later in the day, Trump’s bodyguard approached her and said Trump would like her to join him for dinner.

“F no,” Daniels said when asked how she initially responded.

She said she changed her mind after a publicist convinced her the dinner could make a great story.

When she arrived at his hotel suite, Trump greeted her wearing only satin pyjamas.

“I said, ‘Does Hugh Hefner know you stole his pyjamas?’” Daniels recalled saying, referring to Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner.

Daniels told Trump to change, and he politely obliged, she said. The alleged encounter took place while Trump was married to his current wife, Melania. Trump denies any sexual encounter with Daniels.

Trump leaned back in his chair at the defence table and sometimes appeared to close his eyes while listening to her testimony.

Before her testimony, Justice Juan Merchan said Daniels would be allowed to testify about the basic details of the encounter. Trump defence lawyer Susan Necheles objected, arguing that testimony was peripheral to a case centred on financial records.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger said the testimony was needed to complete the story and establish Daniels’ credibility.

“In terms of the sexual act, it will be just very basic. It’s not going to involve descriptions of genitalia or anything of that nature,” Hoffinger said.

Trump, running again for president in the Nov. 5 election, has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Prosecutors have shown the former president’s signature was on payments at the heart of the case. They say Trump falsely labelled his reimbursement payments to Cohen in 2017 as legal expenses in his real estate company’s books to cover up what they call an illegal scheme to influence the 2016 election by buying the silence of people with potentially damaging information.

Trump’s lawyers have suggested she was seeking a role on Trump’s reality TV show, The Apprentice.

Daniels has been at the receiving end of some of Trump’s vitriolic attacks on social media.

Merchan, who is hearing the case, has said some of those posts violated a gag order restricting Trump from speaking about witnesses, jurors, and others involved in the case if those statements are meant to influence the proceedings.

Trump has been fined US$10,000 so far for violating a gag order that prevents him from talking about witnesses. Merchan has warned Trump could be jailed if he keeps up his attacks.

Trump, the Republican candidate for president, has called the gag order a violation of his free speech rights and says the trial is an attempt to hobble his attempt to win back the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden.

The case is widely seen as less consequential than three other criminal prosecutions Trump faces, but it is the only one certain to go to trial before the election.

The other cases charge Trump with trying to overturn his 2020 presidential defeat and mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all three. — Reuters

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