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DA Bragg hoped Stormy Daniels would save Trump case, but something else happened

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If you thought the Manhattan criminal trial of former President Donald Trump couldn’t devolve into more ridiculousness, it did on Tuesday.  

The folly of District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution was further exposed when the notorious ex-porn star, Stormy Daniels, sashayed to the witness stand. Not unexpectedly, she offered a tutorial on her notorious vocation — sex.     

Her real name is Stephanie Clifford, but her nom de plume is what made her famous in the underworld of adult erotica. In court, she confirmed starring in “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” That may have been titillating, but was there really a point? Like most of her testimony, no. Let’s review.   

TRUMP TRIAL JUDGE COMPARED TO ‘CORRUPT DICTATORSHIPS’ AS STORMY DANIELS UNLEASHES SALACIOUS TESTIMONY

Daniels claims to have had a tryst with Trump 18 years ago, which he denies. She denied it, too, in writing… but only after squeezing $130,000 from Trump when he ran for president a decade later by promising to go public. Her demands and threats intensified as the election drew near. Extortion?  Sure looks like it. But Trump is on trial, not Daniels. Go figure.

Daniels worked overtime to profit financially off of her fleeting association with Trump and to appropriate his MAGA slogan. She headlined strip club appearances that she dubbed, “Make America Horny Again.” She published a tawdry tell-all book titled, “Full Disclosure,” replete with descriptions of male genitalia. She vented her disappointment, if not anger, that Trump refused to feature her in his popular reality television show, “The Apprentice.”  

Stormy Daniels worked overtime to profit financially off of her fleeting association with Trump and to appropriate his MAGA slogan.

On the stand, Daniels told the jury a salacious tale of meeting Trump privately for dinner and having sex with him only once. Curiously, she now claims she blacked out. Is any of it the truth? It doesn’t matter. It’s utterly immaterial to the case. Moreover, Daniels has a nasty habit of peddling inconsistent narratives about the purported episode. At one point, she reversed course and recanted her signed statement repudiating the affair. Yet, on the stand she admitted faking her own signature.  

Stormy Daniels is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial

In this courtroom sketch, Stormy Daniels is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan state court on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

Adopting the mantle of an innocent, Daniels assured the jury that she didn’t care about the money; she only wanted to get her story about Trump out to the public. Really? Then why did she sell her story to Trump’s lawyer for a load of cash in exchange for remaining silent? That one statement alone from the mouth of the witness completely undermined any semblance of credibility. But that’s not all. Daniels confirmed that she instructed her manager to “get the story out and make some money!”

LIVE UPDATES: NY V TRUMP TRIAL RESUMES WITH WITNESS TESTIMONY AFTER JUDGE MERCHAN THREATENS TRUMP WITH JAIL TIME

It’s important to note that Daniels has multiple motives to lie. Beyond wanting to advance her career, cashing in and trying to justify the payola she pocketed in an apparent blackmail scheme, she lost her quixotic defamation lawsuit against Trump and was ordered by the courts to pay him more than half a million dollars in legal fees — a sum she still indignantly refuses to pay. 

Daniels responded by tweeting, “I will go to jail before I pay a penny.” No objection here.  

Bragg’s team of unscrupulous prosecutors called this untrustworthy witness for only one purpose: to slime Trump. That’s obvious. Because none of what she had to say on the stand Tuesday has anything to do with the charges against Trump — charges that don’t even constitute crimes under the law.  

BRAGG PROSECUTOR LEADING STORMY DANIELS QUESTIONING IN TRUMP TRIAL DONATED TO BIDEN, DEMOCRATS

The indictment accuses Trump of falsifying business records. Forget that there was nothing false about them. They were legal payments in exchange for a legal document that was negotiated by two lawyers and booked as “legal expenses” because that is what they were. The Trump Organization accountant who handled it corroborated it when he testified on Monday. 

So, how in the world does Daniels fit in to this sordid mess? She doesn’t. She was never privy to the internal accounting of the payments she received from Trump’s then-attorney, Michael Cohen. She adds nothing to the case except to smear him with humiliating stories about her supposed transient encounter.

NY V TRUMP: JUDGE DENIES MOTION FOR MISTRIAL AMID STORMY DANIELS TESTIMONY

Daniels never spoke to Trump about the payments or the non-disclosure agreement she signed or whether it was intended to help his campaign. She had access to none of the invoices reflecting reimbursements to Cohen. But prosecutors wanted her on the witness stand to drag the accused through the mud. Their goal was to malign and vilify Trump with an irrelevant witness.

Stormy Daniels stands in front of a pink background

Under cross-examination, former adult film star Stormy Daniels withered like a desert flower, admitting that she despised Trump and called him an “orange turd.” (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Daniels did so with gusto. But under cross-examination she withered like a desert flower, admitting that she despised Trump and called him an “orange turd.” Classy. Defense attorney Susan Necheles confronted Daniels with her ever-changing accounts of what really happened with Trump. When it was convenient and lucrative, her story of sex was true. Other times, it was not.  

“You have been making money for more than a decade on the story that you had sex with Donald Trump,” said Necheles. Yes, but sometimes Daniels omitted the part about being intimate. “This taught you that if you want to make money off of Trump you better talk about the sex,” to which the witness replied, “No, although that does seem to be the case.”  

Calling Daniels to the stand was wholly unnecessary. Her scheme for money and the payments made was already introduced as evidence through prior witnesses. Instead, with prodding by prosecutors, Daniels gratuitously offered sexually graphic details that would make a sailor blush. At one point, Judge Juan Merchan instructed the jurors to ignore some of the most prurient testimony. That’s like trying to unring the sound of a deafening bell.     

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The decision by Merchan to even allow such inflammatory testimony is so appalling that it prompted Trump’s lawyers to demand a mistrial. But since the judge was instrumental in creating the legal blunder, he naturally denied the motion that will surely be a bright red flag for the defense on appeal.  

As I’ve noted in prior columns, relevant evidence must be excluded “if its probative value is outweighed by the danger that its admission would create undue prejudice to a party” (NY Rules of Evidence, 4.06). Here, the prejudice to Trump is manifest and immense, and the testimony itself has almost no probative value whatsoever.      

Neither the facts nor the law support Bragg’s anemic case. So, he has taken to defiling Trump in court with the hope that jurors will convict him over a smutty story bereft of criminal wrongdoing.       

We are three weeks into this absurd trial, and there is still no evidence that Trump committed any crimes. No one has testified that the former president was involved in booking the Daniels legal payments as “legal expenses.” Prosecutors allege uncharged election crimes that they have no authority to enforce. Only the federal government can do that and chose not to because no crimes were committed.

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Bragg manufactured a phony case against a political enemy, and his lieutenants have polluted it with irrelevant, inflammatory and prejudicial garbage. The district attorney has made a mockery of fairness and due process. Judge Merchan should have stopped it. Instead, he has enabled and emboldened a corrupt prosecution.  

If Americans care about our system of justice, they should be disgusted with this assault on the rule of law.     

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM GREGG JARRETT


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