Stormy Daniels' testimony could help Trump on appeal

 June 7, 2024

Stormy Daniels' off-the-rails testimony could help Donald Trump overturn his bogus "hush money" verdict on appeal. 

Legal analysts have identified a number of ways Trump could challenge the conviction, including Daniels' prejudicial and shifting account of their alleged 2006 affair.

Daniels could help Trump

In a 2018 interview with comedian Bill Maher, Daniels had described the tryst as awkward but "not a Me Too case."

"I wasn’t attacked, or raped, or coerced or blackmailed … They tried to shove me in the Me Too box to further their own agenda. And first of all, I didn’t want to be part of that because it’s not the truth and I’m not a victim in that regard," she said.

As a trial witness, Daniels sang a different tune. She suggested the encounter was non-consensual, using language like "blacked out" and "power imbalance."

Judge Juan Merchan refused two requests from Trump's lawyers to declare a mistrial over Daniels' graphic and salacious testimony. Merchan's move has been cited as evidence of bias and a potential avenue for appeal.

"We didn't need to know some of those sexual details that came up in the trial to know or decide whether or not Donald Trump falsified his business records," Brian Buckmire, and ABC News legal contributor, told ABC News.

Trump's appeal

Daniels' testimony is just one way Trump's lawyers could challenge the verdict. Trump's lawyers could also argue he did not receive proper notice of the charges, in violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Trump was accused of "falsifying business records," which is a misdemeanor, but prosecutor Alvin Bragg charged the crime as 34 individual felonies by alleging the existence of a second crime. It wasn't until the trial's closing that Bragg ambushed the defense with multiple theories about the second crime.

"If he was not given proper notice of those charges until the last minute, or just procedurally it was done incorrectly, that could be a strong argument," Buckmire said.

While many speculate that the verdict will eventually be overturned, it is not likely to happen before Trump's rematch with Biden in November. Democrats are exploiting the verdict to blast Trump as a "convicted felon."

"Expediting a case like this doesn't mean it gets resolved by November; expediting a case like this means it gets resolved by 2025. That's a fast appeal," Buckmire said.

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