Stormy Daniels denies cashing in on claimed tryst with Trump

Stormy Daniels leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after testifying at former US President Donald Trump's trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments (Charly TRIBALLEAU)
Stormy Daniels leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after testifying at former US President Donald Trump's trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments (Charly TRIBALLEAU)

Stormy Daniels finished her marathon testimony at Donald Trump's hush money trial on Thursday with attorneys for the former president seeking to paint her as a greedy liar who profited from her allegations.

The X-rated film actress, who claims to have had sex with the married Trump in 2006, denied that she threatened the tycoon if he did not buy her silence.

"I wanted the truth to come out... to get my story protected with a paper trail so that my family didn't get hurt," the 45-year-old Daniels said during aggressive cross-examination by Trump's attorney Susan Necheles.

Trump, 77, is accused of falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election, when the story could have proved politically fatal.

The face-off between Daniels and Team Trump took place six months before the November election, when the Republican hopeful will try to defeat Democratic President Joe Biden.

- 'I hated it' -

During nearly eight hours of testimony over two days, Daniels walked the New York jury through the one-night stand she said she had with Trump at a celebrity golf tournament, and then the financial settlement she says ensued.

On Thursday, Trump's lawyers suggested Daniels was out for the money.

They accused her of appearing at strip club events promoted with a picture of Trump and the tagline "Making America Horny Again."

"I never used that tagline -- I hated it," said Daniels who wore a green dress and a long, hooded black cardigan, her hair loose and her cadence confident.

In her testimony Tuesday, she described Trump's pajamas, his boxer shorts, the sexual position and that he did not wear a condom.

And while she was "not threatened verbally or physically" she said she "felt ashamed I didn't stop it, didn't say no."

These were details the defense argued were irrelevant to the case -- but which they doubled down on and repeated frequently during cross-examination.

Trump has denied having sex with Daniels and his lawyers on Tuesday asked the judge for a mistrial on the grounds her testimony was "extremely prejudicial" in what is essentially a financial records and election-related case.

Judge Juan Merchan denied the mistrial request, and a second one lodged on Thursday.

The jury also heard from a publisher at Harper Collins books -- which handled Trump's "Think Big and Kick Ass" -- as well as Trump Organization bookkeeper Rebecca Manochio and former aide Madeleine Westerhout.

The former Trump assistant -- who has penned a book about her experience working in the White House and her eventual firing over divulging embarrassing details about the then-first family -- broke down in tears at one point when asked about losing her job.

Westerhout, who said Trump would sometimes dictate tweets to her, appeared ever-loyal to the former US leader and called working for him at the beginning of his presidency "an incredible experience."

She's a witness who's clearly sympathetic to Trump -- but she confirmed communicating with Cohen to schedule a February 2017 meeting at the White House that could prove vital to proving the charges Trump faces.

Westerhout's cross-examination will continue Friday.

- Gag order remains -

Merchan has imposed a gag order on Trump prohibiting him from publicly attacking witnesses and the ex-president -- who has traded insults with Daniels for years, calling her "horseface" and other crude slurs -- has not yet commented directly on her testimony.

Trump said on Thursday that his side had filed an appeal against the gag order in an appellate court.

His lawyer also demanded that Trump be allowed to hit back publicly at Daniels' claims about their encounter now that she was no longer a witness.

Judge Merchan denied his request to change the gag order, which Trump has been fined $10,000 for breaking.

During the cross-examination on Thursday, Daniels accused Necheles of trying to trick her into misspeaking.

"You have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex appear to be real," Necheles said, noting that Daniels had directed and starred in over 150 adult films.

"If that story was untrue I would've written it to be a lot better," Daniels retorted, referring to her account of the night with Trump. "I didn't have to write this one."

In addition to the New York case, Trump has been indicted in Washington and Georgia on charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

He has also been charged in Florida with allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House but that case has been postponed indefinitely.