Porn Star, President And Hush Money: Trump, Stormy Daniels Back In Court

Washington:

Real estate tycoon and reality television star Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, an X-rated film actress, were both at a celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe in July 2006.

That much is not in dispute.

Trump was playing in the tournament (he finished 62nd in the 80-player field) while Daniels was working as a “greeter” at the booth of porn studio “Wicked Pictures.”

They posed together for a picture — Trump in a red Trump National Golf Club hat and yellow polo shirt, Daniels in a black crop top.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, says Trump invited her to his hotel penthouse suite where they had sex.

Trump says it never happened.

Fast forward to April 2024 and Trump, who is seeking to recapture the White House in November, and Daniels are poised to meet again — in a Manhattan courtroom for the first criminal trial of a former US president.

These are the events leading up to the politically explosive case:

Lake Tahoe

In her 2018 tell-all book “Full Disclosure” and “Stormy,” a new Peacock channel documentary, Daniels recounts her fateful encounter with Trump at the Nevada golf resort.

Daniels was 27 at the time and Trump 60. His third wife, Melania, had given birth to their son Barron about four months earlier.

Daniels said one of Trump’s bodyguards invited her to have dinner with “The Apprentice” star in his hotel room.

In an interview for the documentary, Daniels said they had a “good conversation” that “wasn’t sexual at all” and Trump showed particular interest in the business side of the porn industry.

“He told me I reminded him of his daughter,” she said. “I thought we had this mutual respect.

“Which is why it was so crazy when — having no red flags whatsoever in the conversation — I came out of the bathroom to find myself cornered.

“It was awful but I didn’t say no,” she said. “I didn’t want it but I allowed it to happen.”

Daniels said she remained in touch with Trump over the next year in the hope he would come through on a promise to get her on his television show “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

It never materialized and Daniels said she eventually stopped taking his calls.

‘In Touch’ magazine

In 2011, as Trump was contemplating a White House run against Democrat Barack Obama, “In Touch” magazine contacted Daniels about the Lake Tahoe encounter.

Daniels took a polygraph exam, which she says she passed, and was to have been paid $15,000.

The story never ran, squashed by Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer nicknamed “The Pitbull.”

Daniels said she was threatened soon afterwards by a man in a parking lot who warned her to “Leave Trump alone.”

‘Hush money’ payment

The Lake Tahoe story resurfaced in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign in which Trump was the Republican nominee and at a time when he was already facing flak for crude remarks about women made in an “Access Hollywood” tape.

The National Enquirer, a tabloid owned by a Trump ally, discovered that Daniels was seeking bidders for her potentially damaging story about her tryst with Trump.

The tabloid put her in touch with Cohen.

Cohen, who has since turned against Trump, acknowledged arranging a $130,000 “hush money” payment to Daniels in exchange for her silence about the 2006 encounter.

Daniels and Trump — under the pseudonyms Peggy Peterson and David Dennison — entered into a nondisclosure agreement prepared by Cohen.

Trump’s reimbursements to Cohen for the $130,000 payment form the basis of the 34 counts of falsifying business records he faces as part of a scheme to “unlawfully influence the 2016 presidential election.”

Trump denies any wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a political “witch hunt” by the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, intended to derail his 2024 White House campaign.

Cohen, who has served time in prison for tax evasion and campaign finance violations, and Daniels are both expected to testify at Trump’s trial which begins with jury selection on Monday.

Notoriety

Since coming forward, Daniels has cashed in on her notoriety with appearances at strip clubs around the country billed as the “Make America Horny Again” tour.

But she has also faced death threats, fears for the safety of her daughter, the breakdown of her marriage, mounting legal bills and treachery from her own lawyer.

Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, tricked literary agents into sending $300,000 of an $800,000 advance she received for her book into a bank account he controlled.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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