Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Donald Trump's lawyers try to get hush-money case tossed as a mistrial when Stormy Daniels makes a brief mention of the word "condom" from the witness stand

Stormy Daniels testifies in Trump hush-money trial (AP)

Donald Trump's lawyers tried to  have his New York hush-money case declared a mistrial when former porn star Stormy Daniels mentioned on the witness stand a condom, or lack thereof, as part of her alleged sexual encounter with Trump during  a celebrity golf event near Lake Tahoe, NV. That's from a report at The New Republic (TNR) about Daniels' widely anticipated testimony yesterday. Judge Juan Merchan denied the motion for a mistrial.

Under the headline "Trump Desperately Tries to Toss Entire Case After Stormy Condom Detail; Stormy Daniels testified in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial and revealed some details about the night of the alleged sexual encounter," TNR's Hafiz Rashid reports;

Stormy Daniels’ testimony in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial Tuesday went too far and warrants a mistrial, his lawyers argued. Part of the culprit? A detail about condoms on the night of the alleged sexual encounter.

The adult film actress testified about her affair with Trump in 2006, including some salacious details, and according to Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche, she told a story that was “way different” from her previous descriptions of her time with Trump.

According to Blanche, Daniels’ account of Trump not wearing a condom, of Daniels being blacked out, “the height of the two individuals,” the spacing in the room, and “the fact of the bodyguard not being in the room” were different from the consensual encounter Daniels described in news interviews in 2016.

“That’s not the story that we heard today,” Blanche said to Judge Juan Merchan, adding that Daniels’ testimony Tuesday was a “completely different story.”

“How can you unring the bell?” Blanche argued.

The prosecution disputed that Daniels' story on the stand was different from what she had stated on other occasions. Rashid writes:

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger responded that Daniels’s testimony was “highly probative” of Trump’s intent, and said it’s “not true” that Daniels was telling a new story, since the actress had previously spoken about the lack of a condom.

“This is not new. This is not a new account,” Hoffinger said. “Their position that this is an entirely new story is not accurate.”

Merchan said that he did agree with Blanche’s account that some things should not have been said and that Daniels as a witness was a “little difficult to control,” but that a mistrial still wasn’t warranted. In fact, he told Blanche that Trump’s legal team should have made more objections to Daniels’stestimony.

“I will also note that I was surprised that there weren’t more objections” coming from the defense table, Merchan said, adding that the defense needs to take more responsibility.

“I do not believe we have reached the point that a mistrial is in order,” Merchan said, noting, “The more times a story has been changed,” the more opportunities Trump’s team would have to cross-examine Daniels.

Trump is being tried on 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime by paying off Daniels to cover up their affair through his fixer, Michael Cohen, prior to the 2016 election. The details Daniels provided in court Tuesday of their sexual affair leave Trump with little room to reject her claims under penalty of perjury. He is subject to a gag order in the case that he has already violated 10 times to the tune of $10,000 in fines, and has been warned that the next violation will send him to jail.

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