Stormy Daniels Defends Herself — and Clarifies ‘Orange Turd’ Post — in Tense Cross-Examination

Donald Trump’s hush money trial once again veered into uncharted waters on Thursday, this time in the form of a debate over who’s an “orange turd.” The answer, according to Stormy Daniels is Trump, which may partially explain why at the end of the day Trump’s team requested Judge Juan Merchan amend his gag order to allow the former president to comment on the adult film actress as the center of the trial.

Merchan denied the request.

Trump’s team also requested, for the second time, a mistrial, with Trump attorney Todd Blache arguing that “there is no way the case can go forward” following Daniels’ testimony, which he called a “dog whistle for rape.”

Merchan denied that request, as well.

On the second day of testimony from Daniels — the woman Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen paid off to cover up an alleged affair with the former president ahead of the 2016 election — Trump’s defense team continued their attempts to poke holes in Daniel’s credibility, trying to paint her as a money-grubbing porn star “making phony stories about sex” who has been attacking Trump for personal gain.

Trump attorney Susan Necheles even pointed to a tweet from Daniels in which she wrote that she doesn’t “owe him shit and I’ll never give that orange turd a dime.” The defense suggested the post belittled the former president and supported their claims that Daniels was attempting to profit off of the case.

“It doesn’t say ‘President Trump,’ it says ‘orange turd,’” Daniels replied. “If that’s how you’re going to interpret it, that’s on you.” She did, however, eventually clarify that she “absolutely” meant Trump.

The defense also noted Daniels’ NBC documentary, book deal, tour of the country, and new show exploring the paranormal activity in her Baton Rouge home growing up — examples of how she’s “selling” herself to make money off of the alleged affair.

“Not unlike Mr. Trump,” Daniels quipped in response to the implication, saying her actions were no different than Trump’s consistent campaign fundraising bids around developments in the trial.

Trump’s also grilled Daniels on the details of the alleged affair, pressing her at length about whether she had dinner during the alleged sexual encounter and the power dynamic she felt while in the room with the former president.

“I was shocked, I was surprised,” Daniels testified on Thursday as how she felt seeing Trump on a bed in only his underwear. Necheles questioned how Daniels could have more than 200 adult film credits to her name but still feel like she was going to faint when she saw Trump, as she had testified previously. “I felt like I had no control of the situation, an exit. This was definitely a power shift.”

“It was the first time that they had a bodyguard outside their door, and they were twice my age and in their underwear and bigger than me,” Daniels replied.

Daniels earned some sympathy from those in the courtroom, explaining that although she never felt in danger by the former president, she felt like she had no choice. “That’s my feelings, I blame myself,” she said, explaining she was not drugged by Trump, nor were she or Trump under the influence of alcohol. “My own insecurities made me feel that way. I maintain that he did not put his hands on me. He did not hold me in a threatening way, I maintain that, I was not threatened or drugged.”

Throughout Daniels’ cross-examination, Necheles attempted to paint Daniels as a “good storyteller” who has “completely changed” her story. Daniels pushed back at Necheles, explaining, “I didn’t have to write this one. I’m saying I didn’t make millions of dollars and I didn’t have to write this story.”

“If that story was untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better,” she stated with a smile.

The defense continued to question Daniels’ work as an adult film actress, and later on, a writer and director. “So you’re good at making up” stories about sex, Necheles asked Daniels at one point, causing a rather incredulous Daniels to respond: “That’s not how I would put it, the sex in the films is very much real just as is what happened in that room. The sex is real, the characters may not, but the sex is very real.”

As the defense has repeatedly attempted to paint Daniels as an untrustworthy figure whose claims were inherently implausible, they have risked painting themselves into a legal corner. If Daniels’ allegations were an implausible ploy for cash, why bother buying her silence over her story about an affair with Trump in the first place, a story Trump and his defense team continue to maintain is totally false?

“I feel like you’re trying to trick me into saying something that isn’t true,” Daniels told Necheles at one point.

Trump stands accused of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to allegations that the then-candidate and his associates made hush money payments to women, including $130,000 to Daniels, in order to aid his 2016 presidential election campaign. Prosecutors have accused the former president of unlawfully masking reimbursement payments to his former attorney, Cohen, as legal expenses.

Daniels testified on Thursday that she never spoke with Trump about the payment, nor did she know whether he was aware of it.

Former tabloid boss David Pecker, who aided Trump and Cohen in arranging several of the hush money payments made in 2016, testified earlier in the trial that the former president knew the details of the payment to Daniels. Pecker recalled that Trump complained to him that Daniels had breached the hush-money deal she’d made with Trump fixer Michael Cohen after the porn star gave a televised interview about her alleged affair with the former president.

“I signed this based off of what my attorney suggested I do,” Daniels said of the non-disclosure agreement. “To be clear, I did not write this. I signed this. But to be clear, I was given this statement and I was told to sign it.”

Daniels’ first day of testimony on Tuesday came as a bit of a surprise for the defense. The former president posted — then quickly deleted — a lengthy rant on Truth Social indirectly attacking Daniels, potentially once again violating the gag order from Merchan.

On Monday, Merchan ruled for the second time that Trump had violated the order barring him from attacking witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, and court staff through his public statements and social media posts, finding him in contempt of court and threatening him with jail time if he violates the order again.

“It appears that the $1,000 fines are not serving as a deterrent,” Merchan told Trump on Monday. “The last thing I want to do is to put you in jail. You are the former president of the United States, and possibly the next president as well. There are many reasons why incarceration is truly a last resort for you.”

Trump has reportedly appeared irritated throughout Daniels’ testimony, especially as she described her sexual encounter with Trump. We’ll see if the former president can adhere to the gag order and refrain from attacking her.

His demeanor changed once Daniels left the witness stand. Afterwards, jurors heard testimony from former Trump Organization executive assistant Rebecca Manochio, who explained shipping checks to the White House to get Trump’s signature; Harper Collins Senior Vice President Tracey Menzies, who spoke about the book Think Big and Kick Ass, co-authored by Trump; and Trump’s former special assistant Madeleine Westerhout, who spoke about her time working in the Oval Office.

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche announced toward the end of the day that the prosecution will not be calling Karen McDougal — the former Playboy model whose story of an alleged affair with Trump was “caught and killed” by the National Enquirer ahead of the 2016 election — to testify.

Instead, Blanche took the time to once again argue for some leniency regarding the gag order, claiming that since Daniels would no longer sit at the witness stand, Trump should be able to respond to and defend himself regarding her testimony.

“He wants to attack Ms. Daniels, and that’s what he wants to do. Let’s not pretend that he wants to engage in some high-minded discourse,” Assistant District Attorney Christopher Conroy argued. “He does it selfishly with no concern for the safety of the people that he is attacking.”

After denying the defense’s request to limit the gag order’s scope, Judge Merchan similarly shut down the team’s request for a mistrial, saying they had multiple opportunities to object to Daniels’ testimony but didn’t.

“Ms. Necheles then began to object and virtually every one of her objections was sustained,” Merchan said in denying the motion, saying the defense could have objected more instead of arguing for a mistrial. “Yet for some unexplained reason which I still don’t understand, there was no objection to certain testimony Tuesday and used today.”

Referring to when the prosecution asked Daniels whether Trump wore a condom during their sexual encounter, Merchan said of Necheles: “Why on Earth she didn’t object to the mention of a condom, I don’t understand.”

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