Tuesday — Day 13 of the Manhattan criminal trial of former President Donald Trump for allegedly falsifying business records regarding payments made to Michael Cohen for legal services. (The prosecution asserts these were actually a reimbursement for monies paid by Cohen to Stormy Daniels in conjunction with a non-disclosure agreement.) 

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The day started off with a bombshell of sorts: The prosecution announced its intent to call the aforementioned Daniels to the stand as a witness. If you’re wondering what testimony Daniels could possibly offer to prove that Trump made or caused to be made false entries in his business records with the intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime, you’re likely not alone. While she was the recipient of payments made by Michael Cohen in connection with the NDA, that fact has already been well-established. What would Daniels add, aside from the gawker factor? 


READ MORE: 

PLOT TWIST: Prosecutors Call Stormy Daniels to the Stand, and Trump Is Not Happy About It


Before Daniels, however, the prosecution called Susan Franklin of Penguin/Random House Books. The crux of her testimony was establishing statements included in Trump’s books regarding his business philosophies/practices (signing his own checks, scrutinizing every payment). 

Then came Daniels. Below is a sampling of what the day brought in that regard: 

Here’s CNN’s characterization of Daniels’ testimony: 

In a mostly casual and conversational tone, Daniels recounted details from the floors and furniture in Trump’s hotel room to the contents of his toiletry kit in the bathroom. At one point in court, Daniels threw back her arm and lifted her leg in the witness box to re-create the moment she says Trump posed on his hotel bed for her, stripped down to his undergarments.

But some of the details Daniels described were so explicit that Judge Juan Merchan cut her off at several points. And Trump’s lawyers argued that Daniels had unfairly prejudiced the jury, asking Merchan to declare a mistrial. The judge denied the request but added that some of the details from Daniels were “better left unsaid.”

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And here’s more…

Which isn’t to say that the defense team didn’t score some solid points on cross-examination.

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(Matthew Russell Lee’s entire thread recounting Tuesday’s testimony may be found here.)

Daniels’ antics — and the scope of the testimony Judge Juan Merchan permitted — prompted Trump’s legal team to move for a mistrial, as detailed by Bob Hoge:

Judge Slaps Down Trump’s Mistrial Request in ‘Hush Money’ Case As Stormy Daniels’ Testimony Rocks Court

Although Merchan denied the mistrial request, he did admit that he wished some things hadn’t been discussed by Daniels and prosecutors:

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, after court’s lunch break, told Judge Juan Merchan that Daniels’ testimony Tuesday morning was prejudicial. 

Merchan said a mistrial was not warranted, and stated that he was doing everything he could to control the witness — including once objecting to Daniel’s testimony himself.

“I agree that it would have been better if some of these things had been left unsaid,” Merchan said.

Blanche said the prosecution is trying to inflame the jury with Daniels’ testimony, including with evidence that he says does not matter. Blanche said it is prejudicial testimony and evidence, saying Daniels has been trying to sell her story about an alleged consensual sexual encounter since 2016.

Court will be back in session on Thursday. There’s still a long way to go in this trial — and if there is ultimately a guilty verdict, a long way to go with an appeal. But as we progress through it, the grounds for appeal seem to keep stacking up. 

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