Major Twist Emerges From Trump Trial

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

On Tuesday, the former president Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in court again, where his attorneys will likely be preparing to cross-examine the most important witness the prosecution will call in his hush money trial.

Expected to testify is adult film star Stormy Daniels, who will allegedly recount behind-the-scenes talks with Michael Cohen that culminated in a $130,000 payment and nondisclosure agreement regarding an alleged romance she had with Trump decades ago. Daniels’ lawyer, Clark Brewster, told the AP that his client will “probably” be called to appear on Tuesday, but Trump griped that he was only “recently informed” of the development and that he ought to have had more time to prepare.

The history of Trump and Daniels’s tango begins with Daniels’ 2006 assertion of an awkward sexual encounter during a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe. Trump disputes having sex with Daniels, but he paid her to keep the details of their alleged tryst a secret because he knew it would make headlines only days before the 2016 election. Nevertheless, on November 4, 2016, the Wall Street Journal published a piece about Daniels that included accusations of Trump’s infidelity.

Prosecutors presented the court with records from the Trump organization on Monday, including cheques that Trump personally signed to cover Daniels’ settlement costs. Attorneys representing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg must still demonstrate that Trump’s signature demonstrates his awareness of the rationale behind the payments and his implied consent to label them as legal costs rather than campaign expenditures. Bragg has filed 34 felony charges against Trump, claiming that the money was intended to help him win the election but was covered up by fabricated financial records.


Prosecutors have consistently told the story throughout the trial that Trump, who was losing ground to rival Hillary Clinton, bought off Daniels in order to gain the support of women voters. Hope Hicks, a former Trump spokesperson, stated in court that Trump was most worried about the impact of the alleged affair on his wife Melania. Days before the election, the Wall Street Journal published an article describing a payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, which included Daniels. Hicks stated that Trump was “apprehensive about his wife’s reaction” to the item, and she asked that a paper not be delivered to his home on that particular day.

Daniels was eventually compensated by Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, after her then-attorney, Keith Davidson, said Daniels was willing to release her account of meeting Trump on the record. Cohen told associates he was working nonstop to “fix” difficulties created by Trump, but he was internally complaining about the lengthy repayment process. Hicks also discussed her views on Cohen, a convicted felon who serves as a key prosecution witness. The jury was informed, “He used to like to call himself Mr. Fix-It, but that was only because he first broke it.”



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