Trump trial full coverage: Defense lawyer accuses Stormy Daniels of lying about sexual encounter with Trump

The jury on Thursday heard from Daniels, as well as a Trump organization bookkeeper and Trump's former White House personal assistant.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump watches as Stormy Daniels is questioned by defense attorney Susan Necheles during Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S., May 9, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
Donald Trump watches as Stormy Daniels is questioned by defense attorney Susan Necheles in court on Thursday. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

Adult film star Stormy Daniels wrapped up her testimony in Donald Trump’s hush money trial on Thursday after spending around seven hours on the witness stand.

The defense appeared to try to paint Daniels as a money-grabber who used her story of a sexual relationship with Trump, and the former president's criminal indictment, to sell merchandise.

During cross-examination, Trump attorney Susan Necheles asked Daniels: “You made all this up, right?” New York Times journalists in the courtroom reported that Daniels responded with a forceful “no.”

Others who took the stand on Thursday were Rebecca Manochio, a Trump Organization bookkeeper, and Madeleine Westerhout, Trump's White House personal secretary from 2017 to 2019, and Tracey Menzies, a vice president with Harper Collins who read excerpts from Trump's book, Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life.

Once jurors left for the day, Trump's defense attorneys argued for a mistrial, claiming “there is no way this case can go forward” after Daniels's testimony divulged intimate details about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal the hush money payment to Daniels, who claimed just before the 2016 election that she'd had an affair with Trump.

  • What happened today

    Judge Juan Merchan, hands clasped in front of him, listens as Stormy Daniels is questioned during Donald Trump's trial.
    Judge Juan Merchan listens as Stormy Daniels is questioned by the defense during former President Donald Trump's criminal trial Thursday in this courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

    The day began with Trump's lawyers continuing their cross-examination of adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Defense attorney Susan Necheles tried to convince the jury that Daniels had concocted her story of having sex with Trump in order to benefit from it financially. But Daniels did not shy away from confrontation.

    Here's what else transpired in the courtroom on day 14 of the hush money trial:

    Two more losses for Trump’s lawyers: Judge Juan Merchan denied two Trump motions. The first would have allowed Trump to publicly comment on the testimony given by Daniels. The second had called for Merchan to declare a mistrial because, the defense claimed, Daniels's story of having had sex with Trump was prejudicial to their client.

    Rebecca Manochio, a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization, testified about checks to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that she sent for Trump to sign.

    Tracey Menzies, a senior vice president at HarperCollins book publishers, read aloud quotes from the Trump book Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life, including passages about trusting employees.

    Madeleine Westerhout, a former executive assistant to Trump at the White House, testified about bringing Trump checks from his business to sign in the Oval Office and confirming a White House meeting with Cohen.

    Read more from Yahoo News.

  • What Trump said when he left court

    Trump spoke to reporters outside after court adjourned for the day and appeared to rail against Judge Merchan for denying his defense team's request for a mistrial and for a loosening of the gag order so he could speak out against Stormy Daniels.

    He also complained that he should be out on the campaign trail instead of being stuck in court for the trial.

  • Court adjourned until Friday morning

    Judge Merchan dismissed the court until tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. ET. Madeleine Westerhout, Trump's executive assistant at the White House, is expected to take the stand again.

  • Defense's motion for a mistrial denied

    For the second time, Judge Merchan denied the defense's motion for a mistrial over Stormy Daniels's testimony.

  • Trump's attorneys are pushing for a mistrial. What is a mistrial and what happens if one is declared?

    A mistrial is when a criminal or civil trial is not completed and ends before a jury decides on a verdict.

    A mistrial is often declared in two ways: when a jury can't reach a verdict after a number of attempts, also known as a "hung jury," or when there has been a procedural error or misconduct has happened that could "prejudice" the jury.

    Trump's defense attorneys argue that the prosecution asked "prejudicial" questions of Stormy Daniels when she detailed her alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and that those details weren't relevant to the case.

    If a mistrial is declared, the current trial is considered "void," according to USA Today. The trial has to start all over but with a new jury if the prosecutor decides to retry the defendant.

  • Trump attorney renews request for mistrial

    Trump lawyer Todd Blanche has renewed the defense's request for a mistrial, arguing "there is no way this case can go forward" after Stormy Daniels's testimony divulged intimate details about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump, according to NBC News.

    This is now the second time the defense has requested a mistrial.

  • Trump remains barred from responding to Stormy Daniels after judge rules against modifying gag order

    Trump will remain barred from talking about Stormy Daniels after Judge Merchan denied the defense's request to change the gag order so Trump could respond to her salacious testimony, which the jury heard on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Merchan has ruled that Trump has violated the trial's gag order 10 times and has fined him $1,000 for each violation. Earlier this week, he threatened the former president with jail time if he again violated the gag order.

  • Karen McDougal will not be called as a witness

    Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who was allegedly paid $150,000 to keep quiet about what she claims was a 2006 affair with Trump, will not be called to testify, according to defense attorney Todd Blanche.

    It was previously thought thatthe prosecution would call her to testify in order to establish that the alleged payoffs were part of a larger scheme to protect Trump's 2016 presidential campaign ahead of the election.

  • Prosecutors warn lifting Trump's gag order would result in 'barrage of threats' against Stormy Daniels

    Responding to the defense request that would loosen the gag order the judge placed on Trump so that he could respond to the testimony given by Stormy Daniels, prosecutor Christopher Conroy told Judge Juan Merchan that doing so would result in a "barrage of threats" from Trump against the witness.

    “Let’s not pretend he wants to engage in high-minded discourse,” Conroy told the judge, according to the New York Times.

  • Judge hears defense motion for mistrial and gag order exception

    After the jury was excused from the courtroom, Judge Juan Merchan heard arguments from lawyers on both sides of the case on a renewed motion by Trump's lawyers to declare a mistrial. The defense is also asking the judge to loosen his gag order so that Trump could comment on the testimony given by Stormy Daniels.

    “We ask that President Trump be allowed to respond publicly to what happened in court the past day and a half,” defense attorney Todd Blanche said, per reports from the Manhattan courtroom.

  • Jury dismissed for the day after very brief cross-examination of Trump executive assistant

    Trump's defense attorney Susan Necheles conducted a very brief cross-examination of Madeleine Westerhout in an effort to depict Trump as a kind boss and family man.

    According to CNN, Westerhout said that Trump "never once made me feel that I didn’t deserve that job and that I didn’t belong there. Especially in an office filled with older men, he never made me feel like I didn’t belong there. He was a really good boss."

    After that, the jury was dismissed for the day.

    Necheles will resume cross-examination of Westerhout tomorrow, the New York Times reported.

  • Trump wasn't bothered by release of 'Access Hollywood' tape, Westerhout testifies

    In her cross-examination of prosecution witness Madeleine Westerhout, Trump lawyer Susan Necheles sought to chip away at the prosecution's assertion that the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape convinced Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen to cut a deal with adult film actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence.

    "There was always some event that everybody said that’s it, he’s not gonna win?" Necheles asked Westerhout.

    "Yeah," Westerhout responded.

    "And everybody around would be freaking out?" Necheles continued.

    "Yeah," Westerhout replied.

    "Not President Trump?" Necheles added.

    "No," Westerhout said, according to CNN.

  • Westerhout tears up on the witness stand

    Madeleine Westerhout, Trump's executive assistant at the White House, who sat right outside the Oval Office, broke down in tears while testifying as she recalled being forced out of her position in 2019 after she shared personal details about Trump's family with reporters.

    Westerhout testified that she didn't have anything negative to say about Trump, even after leaving the White House.

    “President Trump forgave you, right?” Trump attorney Susan Necheles asked, according to CNN. “He did,” Westerhout said.

  • Westerhout describes Trump's relationship with Melania

    Former Trump executive assistant Madeleine Westerhout was asked by prosecutors to describe Trump's relationship with his wife, Melania.

    “There was really no one else that could put him in his place too,” Westerhout told the jury, according to CNN. “He was my boss, but she was definitely the one in charge.”

  • Jury shown email Westerhout sent to Cohen confirming February 2017 White House meeting

    According to reporters in the courtroom, prosecutors showed an email sent by Trump executive assistant Madeleine Westerhout to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen confirming a Feb. 5, 2017, meeting at the White House with then-President Donald Trump.

    It was at this meeting, prosecutors allege, that Cohen and Trump worked out an arrangement for Cohen to be reimbursed for his $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

  • Westerhout says Trump wrote and posted his own tweets from the White House

    Prosecutor Rebecca Mangold asked former Trump assistant Madeleine Westerhout whether the former president used social media while working in the White House.

    “He did, yes,” Westerhout responded, noting that he posted tweets himself, CNN reported.

    “My recollection [is] there were certain words he would like to capitalize, words like ‘country,’ and he liked to use exclamation points,” Westerhout added.

  • Westerhout testifies about sitting close to Trump in the Oval Office

    Madeleine Westerhout, Trump's executive assistant at the White House, told jurors that she sat just outside the Oval Office when Trump became president.

    That proximity and level of interaction could be important when Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen testifies about a White House meeting he had with Trump that prosecutors allege regarded the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

  • Brief testimony from HarperCollins VP; Trump's former White House personal assistant now testifying

    There was very brief testimony from Tracey Menzies, a senior vice president of production at HarperCollins, who read excerpts from Trump's 2007 book, Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life. The prosecution selected excerpts to demonstrate its case that Trump micromanages his business and is in the loop, including on the reimbursements made to Michael Cohen for the alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.

    Madeleine Westerhout, former director of Oval Office operations, is now testifying.

  • Brief cross-examination of Trump Organization bookkeeper

    The defense briefly cross-examined the prosecution's witness Rebecca Manochio, a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization.

    Trump attorney Susan Necheles asked Manochio if she had a lot of direct interaction with Trump, to which she responded, "No," according to CNN.

    Manochio also testified that all expenses being sent to Trump for him to sign were personal and not business-related.

    According to reporters in the courtroom, Necheles said that personal expense checks were also sent to Ivanka Trump, in Washington, D.C., when she worked in the White House, which the bookkeeper confirmed was true, pointing out that it wasn't out of the ordinary for Trump to have his personal checks sent to D.C. to sign.

  • Trial resumes after lunch break

    Court is back in session after a lunch break. The defense continues its cross-examination of Rebecca Manochio, a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization.

  • Why there are no photos of Trump in court today

    Since the trial began, pool photographers were briefly allowed into the courtroom at the beginning of each day to photograph former President Donald Trump before the proceedings got underway.

    But on Thursday, a court officer informed the pool that Judge Juan Merchan has now barred photography inside the courtroom for the remainder of the trial because one of the pool photographers violated the judge’s rules by taking a picture of Trump as he walked into court.

    It wasn’t immediately clear who the offending photographer was or when the reported violation occurred.

    But it means the only images from inside the courtroom will be from sketch artists attending the trial.

  • Court taking a lunch break after initial testimony from Rebecca Manochio

    The court is now breaking for lunch.

    The prosecution will resume its questioning of Rebecca Manochio, a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization, after the break.

    So far, Manochio has testified that in 2017, when Trump was president, she sent Michael Cohen's reimbursement checks for Trump to sign to the home addresses of two of aides, rather than to the White House.

    📸 Big picture: Prosecutors are trying to tie Trump to the reimbursement payments made to Michael Cohen for the alleged hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels. The checks that needed to be signed by Trump were allegedly kept within his inner circle of people and not among the official mail going to and from the White House.

  • Testimony shows Trump was still signing checks for the Trump Organization while he was president

    Copies of checks from Donald Trump to attorney Michael Cohen from 2017.
    Copies of checks from Donald Trump to attorney Michael Cohen from 2017, shown as exhibits by prosecutors in the hush money trial. (Jon Elswick/AP)

    While it's not directly part of the prosecution's criminal case, the trial has revealed that Trump was involved in running the Trump Organization while he was president — despite publicly resigning from his namesake company shortly after his inauguration.

    On Jan. 23, 2017, three days after being sworn in, the Trump Organization released a statement saying Trump had resigned from the company and left his sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump in charge.

    But during the hush money trial, current and former members of the Trump Organization have testified that Trump continued to sign checks that were sent from the Trump Organization to the White House, typically via FedEx. Among them were the checks prosecutors said were used to reimburse Michael Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment he made to Stormy Daniels.

    📸 Big picture: Prosecutors are trying to show that Trump was in the loop regarding the reimbursement to Cohen.

  • Prosecutors call next witness, a bookkeeper at the Trump Organization

    The prosecution has called its next witness, Rebecca Manochio, who is a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization. Prosecutor Rebecca Mangold has started questioning Manochio.

  • Stormy Daniels concludes her testimony

    After nearly seven hours of testimony across two days, Stormy Daniels concluded her testimony in Donald Trump's hush money trial.

  • Defense is back for another round of questions for Daniels

    The prosecution ended its redirect, and Trump attorney Susan Necheles is back to ask Stormy Daniels another round of questions.

  • Court sketch shows Thursday's cross-examination

    A courtroom sketch shows Trump's defense attorney Susan Necheles cross-examining Stormy Daniels on Thursday while Trump and Judge Merchan listen.

    Television cameras are not allowed in the courtroom.

    A courtroom sketch of Donald Trump's criminal trial.
    A courtroom sketch shows Trump watching as Stormy Daniels is questioned by his attorney Susan Necheles during his criminal trial on May 9, while Judge Juan Merchan listens. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
    A courtroom sketch of Stormy Daniels.
    Daniels is questioned by Trump attorney Susan Necheles in court on Thursday, in a courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
    A courtroom sketch of Judge Juan Merchan.
    Judge Merchan listens in court, in a courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
  • Cross-examination of Daniels is over, prosecution begins redirect

    Trump's defense team has ended its cross-examination of Stormy Daniels.

    Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger has started her redirect.

  • Trump lawyer implies Daniels shouldn't have been shocked to see Trump in underwear because she's an adult film actress

    Trump's lawyer Susan Necheles questioned Stormy Daniels about previous testimony that she was shocked to see Trump in boxer shorts and a T-shirt when she emerged from his hotel room bathroom.

    According to NBC News, Necheles told Daniels during cross-examination that she acted and had sex in over 250 adult films, to which Daniels replied it was around 150 films.

    Necheles pressed Daniels, implying that it was odd that, having seen naked men and women having sex in all of those adult films, she would be so shocked at the sight of Trump in boxers and a T-shirt that she nearly fainted.

  • Court is taking a break

    After nearly two hours of the defense questioning Stormy Daniels, Judge Merchan called for a midmorning break.

    Daniels, who has testified for nearly six hours so far, will be back on the witness stand when court resumes.

  • Defense questions Daniels on profiting off her story and Trump's indictment

    The defense is pressing Stormy Daniels, claiming she's making money off of her story and Trump's indictment. Trump's attorney Susan Necheles asked about several items Daniels has been selling, including a "Stormy, Saint of Indictments" candle and "#TeamStormy" shirts.

    "You’re celebrating the indictment by selling things from your store?" Necheles asked, according to CNN.

    "Not unlike Mr. Trump," Daniels responded.

    Trump has also capitalized on his criminal indictments, turning them into fundraising opportunities, including shirts featuring his mugshot in the Georgia election criminal case.

    Necheles asked Daniels if she continues to make money off of the former president.

    "I plan to continue to do my job and to fund my extraordinary legal bills," Daniels replied, according to CNN.

  • Defense presses Daniels on her porn career

    A testy exchange occurred during the defense's cross-examination when Trump lawyer Susan Necheles brought up Stormy Daniels's experience with making adult films, per the New York Times.

    NECHELES: You have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex appear to be real.

    DANIELS: That’s not how I would put it. [pauses] The sex in the films is very much real, just like what happened to me in that room.

  • Defense tries to poke holes in Daniels's credibility

    Stormy Daniels poses for photos at the Gossip Gentleman club on Long Island in 2018.
    Daniels poses for photos at the Gossip Gentleman club on Long Island in 2018. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

    During the cross-examination of Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had sex with Trump in 2006, Trump's defense team is trying to poke holes in her credibility.

    Trump attorney Susan Necheles read a January 2018 statement in which Daniels denied having a sexual encounter with Trump. The statement was issued after a 2018 Wall Street Journal article came out about Daniels's hush money agreement she had with Trump.

    "Rumors that I had received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false," Necheles read from Daniels's statement, according to CNN.

    "Correct, because it wasn’t a rumor, it was the truth," Daniels replied.

    Necheles then pressed Daniels about how she personally benefited from going public with her story. According to NBC News, Necheles insinuated to Daniels that "even though you had agreed that you would not discuss this supposed story and you had received a lot of money for that agreement, you then decided that you wanted to publicly say that you had sex with Donald Trump.”

    Daniels replied that "nobody would ever want to publicly say that" they had sex with Trump.

  • Court hears audio of Daniels's lawyer telling Cohen she was desperate to sign a hush money deal

    The defense played a 2016 audio recording for the jury of Keith Davidson, Daniels's then attorney, telling Trump's then-lawyer Michael Cohen that Daniels was desperate to sign a hush money deal before the 2016 election because she expected Trump to lose and she was worried she would lose any "leverage" in selling her story of their alleged sexual affair.

    📸 Big picture: The defense appears to be trying to paint Daniels as a gold digger who was more interested in money than anything else.

  • Defense questions Daniels about her attempts to sell her story

    Under cross-examination, Stormy Daniels was questioned by Trump lawyer Susan Necheles about shopping the story of her alleged sexual affair with him to various news outlets.

    "At this point, you were asking for money, you wanted money from President Trump?" Necheles asked Daniels, per a CNN reporter at the courthouse.

    "No," Daniels replied. "I was asking to sell my story to publications to get the truth out."

  • GOP Sen. Rick Scott in court today to support Trump

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 1: Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) accompanied by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) (L) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 1, 2024 in Washington, DC. Republican Senators joined Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) to denounce pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses and called on school administrations around the country to act against anti-semitism. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)
    Scott speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 1. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

    Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott is in court today to support Trump.

    “I support Donald Trump. This is just political persecution,” Scott told Fox & Friends early Thursday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    “If we don’t stop this, they can go after you. Every American's at risk. I’m going to go support this president because this is wrong, what’s happening to this guy.”

  • Trial resumes with Stormy Daniels on the stand

    Trump's hush money trial resumed Thursday with Stormy Daniels returning to the witness stand for more cross-examination by the defense.

  • Trump says he is appealing the gag order

    Trump speaks to reporters as his lawyer Todd Blanche looks on before his hush money trial Thursday.
    Trump speaks to reporters as his lawyer Todd Blanche looks on before his hush money trial resumed on Thursday. (Angela Weiss/Pool via AP)

    Speaking to reporters after arriving at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, Trump said he is appealing the gag order imposed on him by Judge Juan Merchan.

    "I just want to let you know that we've just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I'm essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that's going on in the case," Trump said.

    The gag order prevents Trump from attacking witnesses and court staff or commenting on the jury. The former president has been held in contempt of court 10 times by Merchan, who warned Trump earlier this week that any further violations could result in jail time.

  • Trump reportedly spent his off day from the trial hosting dinner at Mar-a-Lago for NFT buyers

    Trump, who has repeatedly complained throughout the trial that he has been tied up in court and unable to campaign, flew home to Palm Beach, Fla., to spend his day off hosting a dinner at Mar-a-Lago for supporters who bought at least 47 Trump NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, priced at $99 each, Axios reported.

    Supporters who bought enough NFTs to get invited to the dinner were "supposed to receive a physical card with a piece of the suit Trump is said to have worn the day he was arrested last August" in Georgia, per Axios. And buyers who spent nearly $10,000 were invited to a VIP cocktail reception and received "physical cards with pieces of the suit and the tie that Trump was wearing when he was arrested."

  • What to expect in court today

    • Day 14 of Donald Trump's hush money trial resumes inside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse at 9:30 a.m. ET.

    • Stormy Daniels — the adult film star whose alleged sexual encounter with Trump is at the center of the case — is expected to return to the witness stand to give more testimony under cross examination.

    • Michael Cohen — Trump's former lawyer and “fixer” who facilitated the $130,000 hush money deal with Daniels ahead of the 2016 election — could be called to testify as early as today.

    • Judge Juan Merchan — who has found Trump in contempt of court 10 times for violating the gag order, — has threatened the former president with jail time for any further violations.