A Paralegal’s Steely, Star Turn at Donald Trump’s Trial

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/New York County District Attorney's Office
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/New York County District Attorney's Office

She had a simple job at a complex trial: Read a man’s damning words.

Not just any man, of course. The Twitter posts on the bright courtroom screens at Donald Trump’s New York trial last Friday were the thoughtless intimidation tactics of the first American president to face criminal charges, in a fight that could alter the course of world history.

The task fell to Georgia Longstreet, a tall, unassuming 24-year-old who walks into court every morning impeccably dressed. She and her two fellow paralegals show up half an hour before the prosecution team, lugging in binders of evidence and prepping for the seven-hour battle ahead.

Longstreet had been monitoring Trump’s social media for the past year and a half, and now prosecutors wanted jurors to hear those rants and the way he used his massively popular accounts—to deny having affairs, to insult the woman whose silence he bought, and to intimidate a lawyer who flipped on him.

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On a Friday morning in May, Longstreet took the witness stand to be questioned by Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Mangold about those posts.

“What handle is used?” Mangold asked.

“@RealDonaldTrump,” Longstreet said, referring to his Truth Social account.

“And what is the date and timestamp on this?”

“August 4, 2023 at 4:16 p.m.,” Longstreet responded.

“Can you please read the content of the post to the jury?”

“‘If you go after me, I am coming after you.’”

The brief courtroom silence that followed only seemed to underscore the menacing tone of the post by a former commander-in-chief.

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The inevitable made-for-TV rendition of this trial will give all the best lines to prosecutors like Investigation Division Chief Susan Hoffinger, whose booming voice fills the room, or bespectacled Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass, whose nasal tone gives every speech an air of indignation.

Trump’s own online tantrums will stand as the record of his true feelings—particularly if he decides not to testify next week. And Longstreet’s deadpan recitation of his Twitter and Truth Social posts will be a key, if small, part of the effort to convict him.

The reading was only part of Longstreet’s performance. She also held her own against Trump’s lead defense lawyer—using subtle body language and a hint of defiance to communicate to jurors that every counterargument was nothing more than a sideshow.

“Good morning again, Ms. Longstreet,” Todd Blanche, a former federal prosecutor who is defending Trump in cases across the country, said on May 10 after Mangold’s second time questioning her was done. “How are you?”

“Good. How are you?” she responded dismissively.

“We spoke last Friday—correct?”

“We did.”

Donald Trump with his lawyer Todd Blanche.

Donald Trump with his lawyer Todd Blanche

Mike Segar/Getty

By this point, the jury had already been shown how the National Enquirer had schemed in 2016 to pay off ex-Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels to keep them from dishing about their sexual affairs with Trump ahead of the election.

Jurors had viewed the text messages and emails setting up the hush money deals, heard about the way former Trump confidant Michael Cohen had fronted $130,000 for the second woman, and they would soon see faked invoices for non-existent legal work that resulted in Trump signing reimbursement checks in 2017—from the White House no less.

But the panel could use some crucial context to explain why a raunchy sex scandal would be a coup de grâce to the Trump campaign, and what would make him so desperate to save face with American women.

The answer was obvious to any American who remembered how Trump publicly denied sexually harassing women and made up excuses after the leak of the Access Hollywood tape showed him gloating how he’d “grab ’em by the pussy.”

But in a trial, all the evidence that connects the dots needs to be formally entered into the record, which meant someone needed to read Trump’s social posts under oath. And Longstreet was the perfect choice.

“I believe you testified last week, but correct me if I am wrong, that you reviewed thousands of tweets and Truths as part of your work on this case?” Blanche asked her.

“I did,” she said, answering like someone who’s already wrapped up an annoying chore.

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Paralegals always stay in the shadows. Attorneys get the glory while they get the grunt work. Rarely do they get hauled onto the witness stand. But now all eyes were on Longstreet as Blanche tried to suggest some kind of equivalency between an ex-president’s menacing comments with trolling by Cohen and Daniels on social media.

Longstreet was not going to take the bait.

“So you’re still not reviewing Mr. Cohen’s TikTok?” Blanche asked.

“Not currently, no,” she responded, utterly unamused.

After some more back-and-forth, Blanche asked, “Now, going back briefly to the social media that you reviewed, were you also tasked with reviewing Ms. Daniels’ social media over the last couple of years?”

“Yes,” she said in a tone that conveyed, “Yeah so?”

“And are you continuing to review it during this trial?”

“Yes,” she reiterated.

For a little over 10 minutes, she answered every question from Blanche with a tinge of up-speak and the hint of a raised eyebrow. Her vocal fry only emphasized what came off as disdain.

It wasn’t her first face-off with Blanche. The previous week he had also questioned her. The straightforward answers in the court transcripts hide her sardonic tone.

In that go-round, Longstreet actually drew courtroom laughs when her voice seemed to say what was on everyone’s mind: Cohen might be the DA’s key witness but the guy who managed to rebrand himself from Trump’s loyal henchman into his mortal enemy isn’t exactly a likable person.

“Have you reviewed Michael Cohen’s TikTok?” Blanche asked.

“Not really, no.”

Blanche later turned to Cohen’s burgeoning anti-Trump media project: “And have you listened to all of the Mea Culpa podcasts?”

“Absolutely not,” she shot back, with the courtroom erupting in laughter.

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Each time she wrapped up her testimony, Longstreet would snake her way back to the crowded desk at the far right end of the courtroom. A small dark tattoo at her wrist peeked out from behind a formal suit jacket sleeve as she nervously bit her fingers and took occasional swigs from her pink water bottle.

Of all the characters who have sat in the witness chair at this trial—disgraced media executive David Pecker, sleazy celebrity lawyer Keith Davidson, Trump White House alumni Hope Hicks and Madeleine Westerhout—Longstreet was the only one whose testy demeanor treated this trial for what it is: a long overdue process the nation needs to slog through to figure out what’s next.

Longstreet, who grew up in New Jersey, is working through that too, according to a person who knows her. The recent Rutgers University grad—she majored in criminal justice with double minors in political science and sociology—is coming up on two years at the DA’s office. A source says a future in “prosecution is definitely not off the table.”

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