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Adult film actress Stormy Daniels speaks in federal court in New York in April 2018. She is testifying this week in the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump.

Mary Altaffer/AP


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Mary Altaffer/AP


Adult film actress Stormy Daniels speaks in federal court in New York in April 2018. She is testifying this week in the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump.

Mary Altaffer/AP

NEW YORK — Stormy Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, is expected to testify Tuesday in the criminal trial against former President Donald Trump.

She is one of two women the prosecution accuses of paying to protect her electoral prospects during her first bid for the White House.

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York to conceal damaging information to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump, who has pleaded not guilty, claims the trial itself constitutes “election interference” because of the way it disrupts his 2024 presidential bid because he must be in court every day and cannot campaign when he is.

Who is Stormy Daniels?

Daniels is an adult film actor who received a $130,000 payment from Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2016, when Trump was first running for president. Daniel’s said she had an affair with Trump after he married Melania and right after the birth of his youngest son, Barron.

Although Trump denied the affair, Cohen admitted in 2018 to the payments, and Trump acknowledged that Cohen represented him in the deal after initially denying it. In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating campaign finance law, “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” among other charges, and was sentenced to three years in prison federal.

Daniels also tried to sue Trump in 2018 for defamation, but the suit was dismissed. In 2023, she then attempted to appeal the decision, but lost that appeal, leaving her to pay Trump’s legal fees of $120,000. The same month, Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.

Earlier this year, a new documentary called Stormy aired on Peacock, detailing her life between 2018 and 2023 and the various legal and personal challenges she has faced since coming forward.

What place does it occupy in the prosecution’s case?

Cohen’s payment to Daniels came under scrutiny in 2018 for potential violations of campaign finance law. Trump has long maintained that the payment had nothing to do with the election and was instead trying to protect his marriage and family and that Cohen acted alone. But prosecutors argue that the payments violated a New York law prohibiting illegal conspiracies to “promote” a candidate, and that a $420,000 reimbursement to Cohen was falsely described in Trump’s business records as a ” legal warrant” to conceal the illegal payment.

In opening statements for the trial, prosecutor Matthew Colangelo said he would work to show the jury how the payments were calculated and disguised for tax purposes, as well as evidence that “Trump is a businessman frugal…but when it came to paying Cohen back, he didn’t negotiate the price down. He doubled it so he could disguise it as income,” Colangelo said.

A story of infidelity with a porn star would have been damaging to the campaign, Colangelo said, and Trump wanted to “prevent American voters from learning about this information before Election Day.”

“There was no service contract, rather it was what they thought was a clever way to reimburse Cohen without making it obvious,” Colangelo said, noting that Cohen submitted 11 paid “dummy invoices.” by checks with “false entries” signed. by Trump himself.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Todd Blanche spent time trying to discredit some of the prosecution’s witnesses, primarily Cohen, who has a history of perjury, and Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, noting how she received publicity, highlighting her recent documentary. , and how Trump won a defamation case against her.

Prosecutor Colangelo also tried to preempt potential criticism of Cohen’s testimony, emphasizing that the defense risks discrediting him. “Cohen has made mistakes in the past,” he said, adding that testimony from Pecker and Davidson would also corroborate what was said.

Who else has the jury heard from so far?

Jurors have so far heard from 12 witnesses, called by the prosecution:

David Pecker, former CEO of American Media Inc. He testified that he made a deal with Trump and Cohen in 2015 to help Trump’s campaign by finding potentially damaging stories and helping kill them.

Keith Davidson, McDougal and Daniels’ former lawyer who negotiated their payments in exchange for the rights to their stories. He testified and verified various text messages, phone calls and conversations surrounding the transactions.

Hope Hicksformer Trump campaign and White House official. She testified about the campaign and Trump’s response to news reports about the alleged payments and affairs.

Jeffrey McConney, the former comptroller of the Trump Organization. He audited the Trump Organization’s financial records and emails facilitating payments from Trump to Cohen.

Rhona Graff, a longtime executive assistant at the Trump Organization. She testified against her former boss about how she entered McDougal and Daniels’ contact information into the Trump Organization directory. His testimony verified Trump’s contact lists.

Gary Farro, a former banker at First Republic Bank. He testified about opening accounts for Cohen that would eventually be used to pay Daniels. He said if he had known what the accounts would be used for, he might never have opened them.

Robert Browning, Executive Director of C-SPAN Archives. He fact-checked two clips from the 2016 Trump campaign and a clip from the 2017 press conference in which Trump called Cohen a talented lawyer and where Trump called the women’s allegations lies.

Philip Thompson from Esquire Deposition Solutions. He verified the video and transcript of a deposition Trump gave in 2022 for his civil defamation lawsuit against writer E. Jean Carroll. In a video clip played from the deposition, Trump confirms his wife is Melania Trump and her handle Truth Social, among other things.

Doug Daus, a supervising forensic analyst in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He testified to the authentication of telephone data; Prosecutors played a recording of Cohen and Trump in which Cohen can be heard telling Trump: “I have to open a company for the transfer of all this information about our friend David.” »

Georgia Longstreet, a paralegal in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. She testified that she analyzed Trump’s social media posts.

Deborah Tarasoff, the accounts payable supervisor at the Trump Organization. She testified about the verification and reimbursement process at the Trump Organization. She confirmed each of the invoices, vouchers and checks paid from Trump’s personal account to Cohen.

Sally Franklin, vice president of Penguin Random House, a publishing house. She checked books published about and by Trump.

Andrea Bernstein contributed to this report.

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