Stormy Daniels can testify at Donald Trump hush-money trial, judge rules

Side by side images of bisexual adult film star Stormy Daniels wearing a glittery blue dress and former president Donald Trump

Donald Trump has lost a bid to block testimony from key witnesses, including former porn star Stormy Daniels, at his upcoming hush-money criminal trial. 

Last month, the former president’s legal team asked New York judge Juan Merchan to refuse to allow a jury to hear testimony from Daniels, who was paid $130,000 (roughly £102,500) by ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen shortly before the 2016 presidential election, to stop her going public with allegations that she had had an affair with Trump.

Trump, the first president – former or current – to be charged with criminal activity, pleaded not guilty to the felony counts against him in the case and denied the affair with Daniels. 

On Monday (18 March) the judge rejected the bid to keep Daniels off the witness stand because her testimony is “inextricably intertwined with the narrative of events and is necessary background for the jury”, Reuters reported. 

Former adult film star Stormy Daniels stares at the camera while wearing a dark shirt
Stormy Daniels will be permitted to testify against Donald Trump, a New York has ruled. (Getty)

Merchan also ruled that Cohen, who is serving a three-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to eight charges, including five of tax evasion and one of making an excessive campaign contribution at the request of a candidate (Trump) for the “principal purpose of influencing [the] election”, and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal – who also alleged she had an affair with Trump – will also be allowed to testify.

The former president pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up his reimbursement of Cohen for the payment to Daniels. He has also denied having an affair with McDougal.

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Trump’s lawyers accused Cohen of being a “liar” and claimed McDougal’s testimony would be “unduly prejudicial”. 

However, Merchan said he was unaware of any basis for the “rationale that a prosecution witness [Cohen] should be kept off the witness stand because his credibility has been called into question”.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump is currently attempting to secure a second stay in the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

The trial has been delayed until at least mid-April because of the late disclosure of evidence to the former president.

Daniels previously told PinkNews that her “name was everywhere” when reports of the alleged affair, which she claims happened in 2006, put her at the centre of US politics. She said she “couldn’t go anywhere” because the media interest was “just flat-out overwhelming”. 

She added: “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.”

In a separate legal case, Trump’s lawyers said he couldn’t post a bond covering the full amount of the $454m (£357.5m) civil fraud judgment against him, which needed if he is to appeal the court’s decision. 

Trump encountered “insurmountable difficulties” in trying to secure the full bond, having been spurned by about 30 companies, they added.