Donald Trump’s team tries to prevent porn star Stormy Daniels testifying at hush-money trial

side by side images of former president Donald Trump before supporters and adult film star Stormy Daniels

Donald Trump’s lawyers have asked a judge to block key witnesses – including adult-film star Stormy Daniels – from testifying at the former president’s hush-money criminal case.

Trump has been charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The charges centre on alleged hush-money payments made to conceal an alleged sexual encounter he had with Daniels in 2006.

The Republican presidential candidate denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to the charges.  

Now, his lawyers for have filed a 47-page motion in which they asked the judge to bar testimony from Daniels, ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

The filing attacked the witnesses’ credibility, suggesting Daniels would “tell contrived stories with salacious details” and give “false” testimony. It cast Cohen as a “liar” and said testimony from McDougal, who also alleged she had an affair with Trump, would be “unduly prejudicial”.

Trump has also denied having had the affair with McDougal.

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Meanwhile, the Manhattan district attorney’s office requested the former president be placed under a gag order before the trial, which is set to begin on 25 March.

Prosecutors accused Trump of paying Daniels $130,000 (£102,700), through Cohen, “shortly before the [2016 presidential] election to prevent her from publicising an alleged sexual encounter” with him. They also claim Trump then falsified business records to cover up the payoff. 

A gag order was needed because the former president has a long history of “using social media, speeches, rallies and other public statements to attack individuals he considered adversaries”, the prosecution said. 

“Those remarks, as well as the inevitable reactions they incite from the defendant’s followers and allies, pose a significant and imminent threat to the orderly administration of this criminal proceeding and a substantial likelihood of causing material prejudice,” they went on to claim.

Daniels previously told PinkNews that her “name was everywhere” when news of the alleged affair broke, and she “couldn’t go anywhere” because it became “just flat out overwhelming”. 

She went on to say: “I do have a thick skin because you have to if you work in porn. You have to have a sense of humour, but it was overwhelmingly vicious at first.”

The upcoming case is the first criminal trial Trump will face. He is also due in court over state and federal charges relating to alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, and a federal case regarding his handling of government documents after leaving office. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

No other president has ever faced criminal charges.

Separately, earlier this month Trump was formally ordered to pay $454.2 million (£359 million) – including an almost $355 million (£280 million) penalty – after a civil fraud trial in New York.