Daniels Took the Stand, Here’s the Rundown of Her Testimony 

a katz / shutterstock.com
a katz / shutterstock.com

If there was one thing America wanted to see even more than former President Donald Trump’s testimony during his hush money trial, it was that of porn star Stormy Daniels. From slap-downs by the defense to accusations of profiting from the encounter and the salacious details of the affair, her testimony did not disappoint. 

It didn’t exactly help Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case, either. 

Daniels took time to read Trump’s social media posts about her, those that labeled her as a Sleazebag and called her “Horseface.” In retaliation, the defense read a Tweet from Daniels calling Trump an “orange turd.” When asked why she continued to call the former President names, Daniels said it was because he started it. 

It was juvenile, yet it proved the defense’s case that Daniels’s testimony was motivated by a personal hatred of Trump. Defense lawyer Susan Necheles started questioning Daniels by implying that her testimony might have been practiced beforehand. Daniels denied that her testimony was rehearsed, stating that recalling the memories was difficult and painful. Necheles then asked if Daniels disliked President Trump and wished for his imprisonment. Daniels clarified that she wanted him to be “held accountable.” 

Another motivation for her seems to be money. She has profited indirectly by refusing to pay Trump’s court-ordered restitution of over a half-million dollars in legal fees owed to Trump, allowing Necheles to point out that Daniels disobeyed a direct court order. It’s not a good look for a star witness for the prosecution. 

But more telling was her confession that she sold the rights to her story to Peacock for $125,000. Daniels complained that she has only received $100,000 of that so far and said that her only motivation for selling her story was “to get the truth out, the same as the book.” The book she referenced was her 2018 “Tell All” memoir, Full Disclosure. When Necheles suggested that Daniels has been making money on her claims of an affair with Trump, Daniels was forced to agree. 

An affair, argued Necheles, that never happened. Necheles pointed to inconsistencies between Daniels’s initial story and what was included or omitted in the book. Daniels insisted that none of her story was “made up.” 

While Daniels claims that the details of her encounter with Trump were painful to recall, she treated the jury to full, juicy details about the encounter without hesitation. She also testified that she was afraid when she was “forced” to accept the money paid by Trump to ensure her silence.  

Daniels claims that former attorney Michael Avenatti undertook the dismissed California lawsuit without her knowledge or consent. Avenatti has become a surprise supporter of Trump in the hush money trial, stating that the former President is being targeted. Last month, Avenatti, currently serving a prison sentence at the minimum-security Terminal Island in California for multiple counts of extortion and fraud, stated his willingness to testify on Trump’s behalf in the case. 

Once considered the dynamic duo that Democrats hoped would take out Trump in 2018, the pair has had a significant falling out. Daniels now accuses him of using his position for harmful purposes, saying she never fully trusted him and only hired him because he was the only one willing to represent an adult film star. 

In response, Avenatti told Fox News Digital that Daniels made up parts of her story about the hush payment from Trump’s campaign. He referenced an affidavit he wrote in 2023 but never submitted to the court, where he described Daniels as unpredictable and emotionally unstable. 

The jury is out on whether Daniels’s testimony will help or hurt Bragg. Her impassioned words drew attention away from the legalities of the case, turning it into a circus instead of a trial. And her testimony’s influence on the jurors will ultimately hinge on her credibility, which Trump’s defense team has managed to bring into question. 

On the other hand, the jurors might find her story compelling enough to turn them away from Trump. It was certainly entertaining enough to capture their attention. 

But her testimony, entertaining as it was, had nothing to do with the charges against Trump. The case doesn’t center on whether or not she had an affair with the former President, nor does it hinge on perfectly legal hush-money payments and NDAs. It’s a business fraud trial aimed at prosecuting Trump for mislabeling payments. 

But if Bragg can draw attention back to the story and cast Trump in a bad light, all the better for him. There is nothing else of value in his toolkit.