Los Angeles Politics

Stormy Daniels says she’s willing to testify in a Trump trial

Stormy Daniels said this week that she would be willing to testify if called on if the criminal case against Donald Trump goes to trial.

Appearing on a Thursday episode of the Fox Nation show “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” the adult film actor said the idea of testifying is “daunting,” but added that she’d “look forward to it.”

“You know what I mean? Because I have nothing to hide,” she told Morgan. “I’m the only one that has been telling the truth. And, you know, you can’t shame me even more.”

Former President Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsification of business records stemming from the alleged cover-up of a hush-money payment made to Daniels, a former porn star, in the days before the 2016 election. Trump appeared in a New York City court Tuesday to plead not guilty to the charges.

Daniels remains a major part of the Manhattan D.A.’s case against Trump, who is the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. An investigation centered on a $130,000 payment made by his former attorney Michael Cohen to Daniels in 2016. The money was allegedly paid to prevent Daniels from publicly disclosing during Trump’s campaign for president that she‘d had an affair with him.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, said that if prosecutors don’t call her to the stand, “it paints the picture that they know something about me that makes me, you know, untrustworthy, or not reliable.”

“I think having them call me in and put me on the stand legitimizes my story and who I am,” she said. “And if they don’t, it almost feels like they’re hiding me and people will automatically assume — I would — that, ‘Oh, she must not be a good witness. She’s not credible.’”

In the lead-up to the Manhattan grand jury’s decision to indict Trump, Daniels met with prosecutors in New York City. And since the charges were filed, Daniels told Fox that she has received an increasing amount of death threats that “seem to be more serious” than the ones she got in 2018 when she sued Trump for defamation.

Even so, Daniels isn’t the only alleged Trump payee prosecutors focused on in the case.

Other alleged hush-money payments include $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman, who said he had a story about a child Trump fathered out of wedlock, and a $150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged that she had a sexual relationship with Trump.

Manhattan Dist. Atty. Alvin Bragg said that Trump’s alleged payments to Daniels and others weren’t enough to charge him with a crime. But his alleged efforts to cover up the scheme, including classifying the payments in company records as legal fees, were, Bragg said. He has called the alleged plot a years-long “catch-and-kill scheme.”

“These are felony crimes in New York state, no matter who you are. We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct,” he said.

Trump has denied having sexual encounters with Daniels or McDougal.

In 2018, federal prosecutors charged former Trump attorney Cohen with campaign-finance crimes related to the alleged hush payments.

Trump was not charged in that case, but Cohen — who pleaded guilty and spent three years in prison — implicated him in the scheme. That same year, Cohen had pleaded guilty and was convicted on a separate charge of lying to Congress. Cohen also met with prosecutors in the lead-up to last week’s indictment and is expected to be a key witness if the case goes to trial.

In the Fox Nation interview, Daniels said that if Trump is found guilty of the charges against him, she would support imprisoning the former president. If the court decides not to incarcerate Trump, she worried that it “opens the door for other people to think they can get away with doing that and worse.”

Times staff writers Sarah D. Wire, Alexandra E. Petri and Kevin Rector contributed to this report.

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