Stormy Daniels' prejudicial testimony gives Trump opening to appeal

 May 14, 2024

Stormy Daniels may have given Donald Trump just what he needed to reverse a potential guilty verdict in his "hush money" trial.

During her two days as a witness, Daniels had little to say about the alleged crime at the heart of the case, which charges Trump with "falsifying business records." Instead, she caused a media frenzy with a graphic account of her alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

The porn star's salacious testimony may have been embarrassing to Trump - and gratifying to his enemies - but it could also give Trump's lawyers an opening to appeal on the basis that it was prejudicial.

Stormy Daniels opens door to appeal

Perhaps the most objectionable part of Daniels' testimony was her strong insinuation that she was sexually assaulted. Daniels has long maintained that her alleged encounter with Trump was consensual, but the language she used as a prosecution witness painted a hazier picture.

She described having "blacked out" and feeling a "power imbalance" with Trump. Daniels also relayed a story about being approached by a threatening man in a parking lot in 2011, who she claimed, without evidence, was sent by Trump.

Former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Bederow said Daniels "essentially accused Trump of forcing her to have sex” and “gave salacious details which the D.A. should never have elicited.”

“The mistrial applications were very serious. And frankly, once the jury starts hearing about details they’re not supposed to hear about and forced sexual encounters and strange men following [Daniels] around, how could you undo that?” Bederow said.

“There’s no place for that.”

Judge fails to stop farce...

Judge Juan Merchan, a past Biden donor who declined to recuse himself from the case, rejected two motions from Trump's lawyers for a mistrial.

Merchan criticized Daniels for oversharing but said the defense opened the door for her to go into certain details by challenging her credibility at the trial's opening.

He also said the defense should have raised more objections.

“Your denial puts the jury in a position of having to choose who to believe in, Donald Trump who denies the encounter, or Stormy Daniels," Merchan said.

This week, the jury heard from star witness Michael Cohen, who gave the prosecution the soundbites they were looking for about Trump's role in the alleged "hush money" scheme.

Cohen's checkered credibility brings its own complications to the case, with the defense highlighting his past of lying and his hostility toward Trump.

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