Judge denies Trump move for hush money mistrial over Stormy Daniels testimony

Judge denies Trump move for hush money mistrial over Stormy Daniels testimony

NEW YORK Former President Trump’s hush money judge has denied the defense’s demand for a mistrial over Stormy Daniels’s salacious testimony Tuesday.

Judge Juan Merchan told Trump’s lawyers that he agreed the testimony had gone into “too much detail.”

“Having said that,” Merchan continued, “I don’t think we have reached the point where a mistrial is in order.”

Trump’s lawyers argued that Daniels, one of prosecutor’s highest-profile witnesses, changed her story and that the jury also heard inappropriate details about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

“The guardrails for this witness, answering questions from the government, were just thrown to the side,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche said.

Though he refused to grant a mistrial, Merchan did agree to provide a limiting instruction about some of the porn actor’s earlier testimony that will restrict how jurors can use it.

Afterward, Daniels returned to the stand to continue her direct examination.

Prosecutors had called Daniels to the stand earlier Tuesday, after her testimony was anticipated for weeks.

Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006, though he has denied it. Later, in the weeks before the 2016 election, Trump’s then-fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to keep her story of the alleged affair secret.

That payment is the foundation for the district attorney’s case charging Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with the deal. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Blanche asked for a mistrial after the court reconvened following its lunch break. Daniels had taken the stand in the morning, testifying in sordid detail about the alleged sexual encounter.

Blanche suggested that Daniels’s story has changed since 2016 from a consensual affair to be more dubious and that some of the details the jury was allowed to hear, including that Trump didn’t use a condom, were inappropriate.

“How can you just let them ring the bell?” Blanche asked the judge

Susan Hoffinger, a prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, pushed back against Blanche’s accusations.

“In your motions, your honor did not put any guardrails on the testimony,” she said, claiming Daniels’s story has been public for several years and the defense should not be surprised by her testimony.

With the defense’s blessing, Hoffinger stepped out of the courtroom to advise Daniels to “stay focused on the question,” the judge said.

Daniels’s testimony resumed shortly after and is expected to continue until court adjourns for the day. Trump’s attorneys have not yet questioned her.

Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET

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