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Stormy Daniels set to testify in Trump’s hush money cover-up trial

Stormy Daniels set to testify in Trump's hush money cover-up trial

Stormy Daniels is set to testify Tuesday in Donald Trump’s New York criminal case, NBC News reports. The case’s unofficial “hush money” moniker stems from the alleged payoff to quiet the adult film star ahead of Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election.

Manhattan jurors will now be able to see and hear from her themselves.

Like Michael Cohen, Daniels has been mentioned during the trial but had yet to be called to the witness stand. Cohen, if he testifies later in the case as expected, may wind up being the more legally relevant witness. But Daniels’ testimony may be helpful in bolstering the narrative at the center of the case, or at least in preventing the defense from arguing at summation that prosecutors were hiding something by not calling her.

The alleged hush money payoff stemmed from Daniels’ claim ahead of the 2016 election that she had previously had sex with Trump, which he has denied. He has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records. Manhattan prosecutors say the alleged falsification sought to cover up Trump’s reimbursement to Cohen, who paid Daniels ahead of the election.

Daniels’ testimony follows drier — but arguably more legally relevant — testimony on Monday about the records at the center of the indictment. Her testimony also comes the day after Judge Juan Merchan held Trump in criminal contempt again for violating a gag order a tenth time. Merchan threatened Trump with jail on Monday for future violations.

Among other things, Daniels’ appearance and her potentially salacious testimony could test the presumptive GOP nominee’s ability to abide by the court order, which bars him from speaking out against witnesses and others involved in the first-ever criminal trial against a former U.S. president.

Indeed, Tuesday started with Trump posting on his social media site that he had just learned who the day’s witness was and complaining that his lawyers lacked sufficient time to prepare. For one thing, at this point in the trial there are only so many plausible witnesses left, so if his lawyers are unprepared for Daniels, then he has bigger problems. But regardless of when they learned the next witness’ identity, the reason that prosecutors aren’t sharing those names far in advance is that they can’t trust Trump not to go after them. The former president deleted the post before court started Tuesday morning.

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