Trump's Private Life Exposed in Intimate Stormy Daniels Testimony

Donald Trump's intimate moments with an adult film star spilled out into open court on Tuesday as Stormy Daniels described her alleged affair with the former president in a highly-anticipated moment of his hush-money trial.

May 8, 2024 - 11:45
Trump's Private Life Exposed in Intimate Stormy Daniels Testimony

Donald Trump's intimate moments with an adult film star spilled out into open court on Tuesday as Stormy Daniels described her alleged affair with the former president in a highly-anticipated moment of his hush-money trial.

The testimony everybody was waiting for arrived Tuesday morning in Manhattan as Daniels took the stand to tell her story of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump in a Lake Tahoe hotel suite.

"He was wearing silk or satin pajamas that I immediately made fun of," Daniels said as a prosecutor questioned her about the encounter. "'Does Hugh Hefner know you stole his pajamas?'" she recalled asking Trump.

Her vivid and often graphic testimony included fresh details on a story that has been pored over for years. The scene injected a tabloid-ready moment into the trial, with the adult-film actress confronting the former president before a jury of New Yorkers who will determine his fate. 

During a break, Judge Juan Merchan privately warned Trump's lawyer that the ex-president could be heard uttering vulgarities during the testimony, which the judge said he would not tolerate. The day before, Merchan had threatened to jail Trump for continuing to violate a gag order barring him from publicly discussing potential witnesses.

"I understand that your client is upset at this point, but he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually and that's contemptuous," Merchan told attorney Todd Blanche, according to a transcript. "It has the potential to intimidate the witness and the jury can see that."

Campaign Damage

The private and potentially embarrassing details about the night they met - including her mocking of Trump's silk pajamas and the manner in which he allegedly initiated sex - are likely to infuriate the former president, who has denied the affair and is deeply protective of his public image. What's less clear is how damaging the revelations will be to his case or his campaign. 

The remarkable testimony is the latest example of how Trump's dealings with women are coming back to haunt him in court. Last year, a federal jury in Manhattan found Trump liable for sexually assaulting New York writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s. Another jury awarded Carroll $83.3 million in damages to punish Trump for defaming her by denying her allegation of rape.

Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for the November election even after Carroll prevailed in court in her sexual-abuse lawsuit, and his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton followed a string of damaging revelations about his dealings with women. That included the release of the so-called Access Hollywood tape in which he boasts about sexual assault. 

Star Witness

Daniels is at the center of a case in which Trump is accused of falsifying business records to conceal the nature of a $130,000 payment to her to keep her quiet before the 2016 election. Her testimony is crucial because the Manhattan district attorney, who brought the case last year, must convince jurors that Trump tried to conceal Daniels's story before the election. 

If Daniels can convince jurors that a sexual encounter took place, it can bolster the district attorney's argument about Trump's motivation to make the hush-money payment. 

Mistrial Request

Many of the details Daniels gave the jury Tuesday have been public for years, but her answers under questioning by prosecutors included new claims that angered the defense, including a suggestion that Daniels felt pressured to have sex with Trump due to a "power imbalance."

Daniels delivered much of her testimony in a colorful demeanor that sometimes bordered on humorous, eliciting frequent laughs from spectators. Daniels avoided looking directly at Trump, even when she walked right by him. For his part, Trump appeared to keep his eyes closed for much of her testimony.

Trump and his lawyers mostly let Daniels testify uninterrupted. It wasn't until after the lunch break, when Trump's lawyer Blanche seized the opportunity to ask the judge for a mistrial, arguing that the detailed testimony by Daniels had gone too far and prejudiced the jury. 

Merchan denied the mistrial motion but even so, agreed some of Daniels's testimony had gone too far. He asked Daniels to stay focused and avoid providing "unnecessary details" in her testimony. He also chided Trump's lawyers for not objecting to it earlier.

Before the jury came back from the break, Judge Merchan told prosecutor Susan Hoffinger that "we don't need this level of detail, like the color of the floor."

Salacious Details

Daniels described how she first met Trump in a Lake Tahoe hotel suite, where she'd been invited after meeting the real estate mogul at a celebrity golf tournament sponsored in part by the adult-film company where she worked. Trump's bodyguard invited her to Trump's hotel for dinner and when she arrived at the room, she found Trump in his silk pajamas.

Speaking rapidly during her testimony, Daniels was frequently asked to slow down by the judge. She detailed her banter with Trump, describing him as "arrogant." That prompted Trump to suggest she should spank him, she said.

Daniels said she asked Trump about his wife, Melania. He told her not to worry about that and that they "don't even sleep in the same room." She said she excused herself to go to the bathroom, and found Trump waiting for her on the bed when she returned.

She regretted her decisions that had led her there that night, and said she didn't disclose her affair with Trump because she felt "ashamed." The consensual tryst left her shaken, Daniels said, but she stayed in touch with Trump because he promised he'd help her get on his reality TV show, The Apprentice.

Daniels said hundreds of people knew of her relationship with Trump, but few knew they had sex. Her story briefly became public in a 2011 gossip blog post. But by 2016, she decided to accept a $130,000 payment from Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen to keep quiet about the affair.

Extorting money from Trump, as the former president has suggested, wasn't her goal, Daniels testified.

"My motivation wasn't money," Daniels said. "It was to get the story out."


Trump's team used cross examination to portray Daniels as a liar who wanted to make money off a fake story about the former president.

Trump lawyer Susan Necheles accused Daniels at one point of making up her testimony as she went along, pointing to evidence that she'd told a Los Angeles lawyer she didn't have sex with Trump, and that she told some entertainment news outlets that the story about the affair was false.

"You're making it up as you sit there, right?" Necheles said.

Necheles suggested that Daniels was an extortionist and someone determined to avoid paying Trump more than $500,000 in legal fees she owed him.

"You're looking to extort money from President Trump, right?" Necheles asked.

"False," said Daniels.

The lawyer at one point got Daniels to say she hates Trump and that she hopes he'll go to jail, seeking to convey to the jury that Daniels has biased feelings about Trump.

"Am I correct that you hate President Trump?" Necheles asked.

"Yes," Daniels said.

"And you want him to go to jail?" Necheles asked.

"I want him to be held accountable," Daniels said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Voice Team We covers wide range of topics, from startups and small businesses to multinational corporations, finance, marketing, technology, and more.