Stormy Daniels shoots down Trump attorney’s claims she made up sex story: ‘If it was untrue, I would’ve written it better’

Trump’s defense attorney suggested the adult film star shouldn’t be shocked by the sight of him in his underwear due to her line of work

Alex Woodward
in Manhattan criminal court
Thursday 09 May 2024 22:42 BST
Related video: Trump speaks to reporters outside of court

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Over two hours of fierce cross-examination from Donald Trump’s legal team on Thursday, Stormy Daniels fought off attacks designed to undermine her credibility and cast her as a liar and opportunist.

In a series of quippy relies to Mr Trump’s attorney, she told the court that if if her account of having sex with the former president was a fabricated story, “I would’ve written it better.”

The adult film star’s detailed account of a sexual encounter with the former president in 2006 came under intense scrutiny across seven hours over two days inside a Manhattan courtroom, where Mr Trump stands criminally accused of covering up $130,000 in payments intended to keep her quiet during the 2016 presidential election.

On Thursday, defense attorney Susan Necheles tried to dissect Ms Daniels’ testimony about her alleged sexual encounter with Mr Trump in a hotel room to find inconsistencies in her accounts of the meeting in interviews and in her book.

But Ms Daniels appeared unflappable – leaning comfortably on the stand and firing quips back to Ms Necheles as if the questions were beneath her.

At one point, Ms Necheles suggested that the appearance of Mr Trump in his underwear asking for sex shouldn’t have shocked her because she would be used to seeing naked men in her line of work.

“You’ve acted and had sex in over 200 porn movies, right?” she said. “And there are naked men and naked women having sex in those movies? … But according to you, seeing a man sitting on a bed in a T-shirt and boxer shorts was so upsetting you became light-headed and almost fainted?”

“When you’re not expecting a man twice your age, yes,” Ms Daniels fired back.

Ms Necheles often punctuated her line of questions to directly ask whether Ms Daniels was lying or “making this stuff up.”

A courtroom sketch depicts Stormy Daniels on the witness stand facing questions from Donald Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles on 9 May.
A courtroom sketch depicts Stormy Daniels on the witness stand facing questions from Donald Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles on 9 May. (REUTERS)

“This was your career for over 20 years, writing, acting, and directing sex films,” she asked. “You have a lot of experience making phony stories about sex appear real, right?”

“Wow,” Ms Daniel replied, pausing to laugh.

“That’s not how I would put it,” she said. “The sex in those films is very much real – just like in that hotel room.”

She added: “If that story were untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better.”

The criminal courthouse in downtown Manhattan was teeming with journalists on Thursday, among the only days of the trial that members of the public knew who would be appearing on the witness stand, and that the witness was one of the key figures in the case.

Thursday’s proceedings followed an extraordinary day of testimony from Ms Daniels on Tuesday, who sat just feet away from the former president and likely Republican nominee for the presidency as he was forced to listen to a story that he has allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to keep hidden.

On Tuesday, Ms Daniels recalled, in detail, the brief but disturbing sex she allegedly had with the former president after a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe nearly 18 years ago.

She often smiled and joked through her testimony before walking prosecutors moment-by-moment through her meeting with Mr Trump, revealing what was supposed to be a dinner date that turned into brief but nightmarish sex in a hotel room.

Defense attorneys repeatedly objected to the details of her testimony that day, and New York Justice Juan Merchan also jumped in to stop her at times. Mr Trump’s legal team sought a mistrial, arguing that her overly detailed account was too prejudicial for jurors to wade through to reach a fair verdict.

Donald Trump leaves a criminal courtroom in Manhattan on 9 May
Donald Trump leaves a criminal courtroom in Manhattan on 9 May (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The judge denied that motion but agreed that Ms Daniels said too much, and was surprised that defense attorneys didn’t object to more. Mr Trump himself was fuming and cursing loud enough for the judge to tell his lawyers to get him under control, warning that his behavior also risked influencing the jury.

The case before jurors is not about affairs or sex or nondisclosure agreements or tabloid drama uncovered over the last two weeks of witness testimony, but Ms Daniels’ story is at the center of it all. Her testimony about the encounter is “precisely what the defendant did not want to become public,” Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger told the judge on Tuesday.

When Ms Daniels returned to the stand on Thursday, Ms Necheles needled her for discrepancies in her various accounts of the story over the last several years, including a bizarre minutes-long exchange where she tried to convince jurors that “dinner” means eating food, not the time of day.

“Your words don’t mean what they say, do they?” Ms Necheles said.

At another point, she asked: “Your story has completely changed, hasn’t it?”

“No! Not at all,” Ms Daniels replied. “You’re trying to make me change, but it hasn’t changed.”

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