Stormy Daniels’ big turn in the courtroom may have done more harm than good

It wasn’t so much a collective sigh as a synchronized clatter.

Fingers jabbed furiously at keyboards as reporters crammed into the hard, wooden benches of courtroom 1530, desperately trying to capture every cough, pronunciation and indignant shake of the head.

“I had my clothes and shoes off. However, I believe my bra was still on. We were in a missionary position,” Stormy Daniels, the former adult film actress, told the court, describing what she said was a rather unpassionate night of passion with the former president of the United States.

Although Susan Necheles, Donald Trump’s lawyer, objected, Ms. Daniels continued to reveal lurid details about that alleged night in a palatial hotel suite in 2006.

“Was he wearing a condom?” asked Susan Hoffinger, a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

“No,” Ms. Daniels, 45, replied.

Ever since the sound of Ms. Daniels’ heels hitting the gray laminate floor echoed in the Manhattan courtroom, somber but relevant discussions about signing checks and corporate books had been superseded by racy details about the adult film industry and Trump’s bum slapping.

Things escalated quickly.

But a week after the dust settled when the trial suddenly came to life, experts debated whether Ms. Daniels had gone too far.

During six hours and ten minutes of testimony spanning two days, both the prosecution and defense gathered graphic details about the alleged night in question.

Some of it raised the eyebrows of Judge Juan Merchan, who expressed disbelief as crude descriptions of the alleged sexual encounter poured into his courtroom.

The prosecutor argued that the jury needed to hear the details of what happened that night to bolster Ms. Daniels’ credibility and show why Trump was so desperate to prevent them from becoming public days before the 2016 election.

Stormy Daniels leaves Manhattan Criminal Court

Stormy Daniels leaves Manhattan Criminal Court – Getty/Charly Tribelleau

But Randy Zelin, a professor at Cornell Law School, thinks the salacious details, which have nothing to do with the alleged 34 counts of falsifying business documents, will only hurt the Manhattan district attorney’s case.

“To go into the intimate and graphic and gruesome details… when I sit there as a juror, I say to myself, ‘You don’t have a case,’” he told The Telegraph.

“I’m thinking, all you want me to do is hate this man, all you want to do is smear, muddy and denigrate him, thinking I’m stupid enough to take the bait and condemn him because I think he’s a worthless person’.”

Ms. Daniels reclined in her maroon leather chair for about six hours as she took the jury on a journey from life growing up in a “low-income” household in Louisiana to meeting Mr. Trump in the gift room of a celebrity golf tournament . in Lake Tahoe.

Donald Trump addresses the press before leaving the Manhattan Criminal CourtDonald Trump addresses the press before leaving the Manhattan Criminal Court

Donald Trump speaks to the press before leaving court – Getty/Curtis Means

After accepting an invitation to dinner with Trump, 77, sent through Keith Schiller, his bodyguard, Ms. Daniels put on a pair of gold strappy sandals and headed to the penthouse suite of Harrah’s hotel.

Ms. Daniels looked directly at the jury, giggling at points as if she were chatting with friends over brunch, as she explained in detail everything she claimed happened behind the door of that hotel room.

STD testing, whether adult actresses have unions and sleeping in a separate bedroom from Melania Trump were all topics of discussion before Ms. Daniels hit Mr. Trump “right on the butt” with a rolled-up magazine with his face on it, Ms. Daniels alleged.

“Bull—-,” Trump said, squirming in his seat.

At some points, Ms. Daniels appeared to talk about non-consensual sex. She blacked out, she said, before claiming she had not been drugged or threatened. There was a ‘power imbalance’.

Describing how she saw Mr Trump sitting on the bed in his boxer shorts and a T-shirt, Daniels said: “Then I had that moment where I felt the room spinning in slow motion. I felt the blood leaving my hands and feet.”

Before their “very brief” sexual encounter, she claims Trump told her, “I thought we were getting somewhere… I thought you were serious about what you wanted.” If you ever want to leave that trailer park.”

Balancing books?

While the defense may have benefited from testimony that many believed strayed too far, some believe the lengthy cross-examination helped balance the books.

During a fierce, terse cross-examination that lasted several hours, Ms. Necheles and Ms. Daniels bumped into each other repeatedly.

Ms. Necheles tried to portray Ms. Daniels as a greedy extortionist who fabricated her alleged affair with Trump to “threaten” him.

In an attempt to use her career as a porn star and director against her, Ms. Necheles pointed to the hundreds of “fake” sex films in which Ms. Daniels had starred or written

“And now you have a story you told about having sex with President Trump, right?” asked Mrs. Necheles.

“And if that story wasn’t true, I would have written it a lot better,” an abrasive Ms. Daniels shot back, prompting laughter in the courtroom and at least one smile from the jury.

Mitchell Epner, a partner at law firm Kudman Trachten Aloe Posner, believes Ms. Necheles’ tunnel vision about refuting the alleged sex act was once a “great gift” to the prosecutor.

The former federal prosecutor said it would have been smarter for the defense to briefly question Ms. Daniels to show that her testimony is not relevant to the case.

‘Trump is furious’

However, he believes Ms. Necheles had no choice but to aggressively fight allegations that Ms. Daniels and Mr. Trump had sex that night because her client wanted to.

“I know Ms. Necheles professionally, she is an incredibly skilled criminal defense attorney. “I don’t think this is the cross-examination she would have used if she had a different client,” he said.

“I think Trump is outraged by this testimony and wants her beaten up, and his desire to have her [Daniels] Getting beat up became a more important measure than actually effective cross-examination.”

While even Ms. Daniels and her supernatural instincts can’t know what the jury will decide when it comes to sending the first former U.S. president to prison, they will have no shortage of material to discuss when it comes to deliberations.

The second key witness in the case, former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, is expected to take the stand next week.

When he comes face to face with his friend and enemy Trump, the convicted lawyer will spare no details as he accuses the Republican front-runner of covering up a $130,000 hush money payment to silence Ms. Daniels.

It’s entirely possible that Trump is squirming in his seat again.

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