Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (2024)

7:27 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Here are some key takeaways from the 14th day of Trump's criminal hush money trial

From CNN's Jeremy Herb,Lauren del ValleandKara Scannell

Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (1)

Former PresidentDonald Trump’s lawyers continued their attack on the credibility of Stormy Daniels for several hours Thursday, with defense attorney Susan Nechelesaccusing the adult film star of making up the story of having sex with Trump.

Today also saw testimony from a woman who was once among the closest people working with Trump in the White House, and failed efforts by the defense to get a mistrial and an exception to the defendant's gag order.

Here are some key takeaways from Day 14 of the Trumphush money trial:

Contentious testimony: Daniels combatively and defiantly responded to questions from Necheles, insisting her story of a sexual encounter with Trump was true. Trump has denied the affair.

Trump’s attorney asked about minor inconsistencies in interviews Daniels has given about her interactions with Trump. Necheles also picked apart how Daniels has previously described the encounter.

Necheles also insinuated Daniels had employed her skills as a p*rn writer in making up the story. “You have a lot of experience of making phony stories about sex appear to be real,” the Trump attorney asked.

"Wow," Daniels said,with a pause. “That’s not how I would put it. The sex in the films is very much real, just like what happened to me in that room.”

Lawyers spar over Daniels' financial situation: Beyond the details of the alleged encounter itself, Trump’s attorneys and prosecutors had Daniels tell conflicting accounts of her financial situation.

Necheles continued to suggest that Daniels was making money off of saying she had sex with Trump, pointing to a tweet where she said she’d earned $1 million and otherswhere she directed her supporters to her online store after Trump was indicted.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, had Daniels recount how telling her story has also cost her, from having to move her daughter and hire security to the lawyers’ fees she was ordered to pay after she sued Trump and lost.

Former aide takes us inside the Trump White House: Former White House aide Madeleine Westerhout described the inner workings of Trump’s West Wing, where she worked for more than two years sitting just outside the Oval Office.

Westerhout described Trump's work habits, from his affinity for sharpies and hard copies of documents, to his close control over his social media posts and his preference to talk to people in person or on the phone — not by email.

While she did not testify to direct knowledge of the checks Trump signed to his former fixer Michael Cohen, which are cited in the charges against Trump, her story added to the prosecution's narrative about his involvement with the checks in 2017.

Two failed efforts by Trump's team: Judge Juan Merchan denied the request from Trump's lawyers to make an exception to the gag order allowing him to speak publicly about Daniels, saying he must protect the integrity of the proceedings, and he doesn’t trust Trump not to violate an order if he were to modify it.

The judge also denied Trump’s renewed motion for a mistrial over the salacious testimony Daniels gave, which his attorneys say unfairly prejudices the jury against Trump. Merchan said the specificity is important to helping the jury make a determination.

Read a full recap of today's proceedings here.

7:15 a.m. ET, May 10, 2024

Here are the witnesses who have testified so far in the Trump hush money trial

From CNN staff

Donald Trump's longtime assistant, the former banker of Trump's attorney Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels are among witnesses who have taken the stand so far in the hush money trial.

As of Thursday, here's everybody we've heard from so far:

  • David Pecker — the former CEO of American Media Inc., the National Enquirer's parent company — was the first witness called to testify. After more than 10 hours of testimony across four days, he offered illuminating details into how the infamous tabloid operated and conducted so-called “catch and kill” operations.
  • Rhona Graff, Trump's longtime assistant at the Trump Organization, was called to testify briefly on April 26.
  • Gary Farro, the former banker of Cohen, walked the jury through Cohen’s bank activity around the payment to Daniels.
Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (3)
  • Keith Davidson, the former lawyer for model and actress Karen McDougal as well as for Daniels, was on the stand fornearly 6 hoursover two days.
  • Douglas Daus works for the Manhattan District Attorney's High Technology Analysis Unit, and was assigned to analyze two iPhones thatbelonged to Cohenin the investigation related to Trump. They were obtained via a search warrant.Daus testified about the"unusual" amount of contactsand other things he found on Cohen's phone.
  • Hope Hicks, Trump's longtime former aide, testified for a little less than three hours about her role as Trump’s 2016 campaign press secretary, the aftermath ofthe “Access Hollywood” tape releaseand Cohen's payment toDaniels.
Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (4)
  • Jeffrey McConney, a former Trump Organization controller, testified abouthow Cohen's payments were listedin Trump's financial documents.
  • Deborah Tarasoff, the accounts payable supervisor in the accounting department at the Trump Organization, explained how checks were cut to Cohenin 2017 and she testified thatinvoices over $10,000had to be approved by Trump or one of his sons.
  • Sally Franklin, the senior vice president and executive managing editor for Penguin Random House publishing group, testified for46 minutes. Prosecutors used her testimony to enterexcerpts from Trump’s booksinto evidence.
  • Stormy Daniels, who's at the center of the hush money case, was on the stand for 6 hours and 10 minutes over two days of testimony. Daniels walked the jury through details about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and the $130,000 hush money payment from Trump's ex-attorney Michael Cohen shortlybefore the 2016 election. Trump attorney Susan Necheles hammered down on Daniels in cross-examination to establish some of the ways she gained publicity and money from her story going public.
  • Rebecca Manochio, a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization, testified for about 35 minutes. The prosecution used Manochio to submit invoices, documents and emails as evidence.
Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (5)
  • Tracey Menzies, the senior vice president of production and creative operations at Harper Collins, spoke about one of the books Donald Trump co-authored, “Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life,” by Trump and Bill Zanker and read excerpts from the book.
  • Madeleine Westerhout, a former personal assistant to Trump at the White House, detailed how the president preferred to work, his attention to detail and the reaction to the "Access Hollywood" tape.
6:02 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Stormy Daniels finished her testimony in Trump’s hush money trial. Here’s what to know

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (6)

Donald Trump’s lawyers finished their cross-examination of Stormy Daniels on Thursday and spent most of the time trying to undermine her credibility by pointing out inconsistencies in her story.

In her more than 6 hours of testimony over two days, Daniels described herfirst meeting with Trump, the detailsof their alleged sexual encounter in 2006 and how the hush money payment unfolded years later. The defense tried to establish some of the ways the p*rn star gained publicity and money from her story going public.

The other witnesses on Thursday were a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization, an employee of Harper Collins and Trump’s former personal assistant at the White House.

Here’s what happened in court on Thursday:

Stormy Daniels on cross-examination:

  • Trump lawyer Susan Necheles pointed out that in a January 2018 statement, Daniels denied a sexual encounter with Trump. Later that same month, Daniels put out a second statement denying the relationship. She said she was pushed to sign the statement by Michael Cohen via attorney Keith Davidson.
  • Necheles asked Daniels if she eventually wanted to publicly announce she had sex with Trump. "No. Nobody would ever want to publicly say that. I wanted to publicly defend myself," Daniels testified.
  • Necheles sought to establish examples of how Daniels benefitted from the story. A "60 Minutes" interview and appearances on CNN and "The View" brought Daniels publicity, Necheles said. Daniels argued her then-lawyer Michael Avenatti arranged her appearances.
  • Necheles challenged Daniels on her story, saying it "has changed a lot over the years," citing Daniels’ description of the floors in Trump’s hotel room. The Trump attorney also asked if Daniels fabricated the story about the encounter with Trump, which Daniels denied.

On redirect:

  • Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger went through Daniels' motivation for entering the non-disclosure agreement, including her fear for safety. While Daniels has made money with the Trump story, it has also cost her, Hoffinger said. Daniels said now she's had to hire security and move her daughter to a safe place to live, in addition to the money she owes Trump in attorney's fees.
  • Hoffinger asked, "Have you been telling lies about Mr. Trump or the truth about Mr. Trump?" Daniels responded, “The truth.”

Rebecca Manochio:

  • Manochio, who still works at the Trump Organization as a junior bookkeeper, said when Trump was in the White House, she would FedEx checks once a week, often 10 to 20 at a time. The checks were mailed back to the Trump Organization, signed by Trump, usually within a few days.
  • When she received the checks back from Washington, she would give them to Deb Tarasoff, who works in the accounting department and testified earlier in the trial.
  • Prosecutors used Manochio to submit documents into evidence that showed Trump's personal checks were facilitated in Washington, DC, by Trump Organization bodyguard Keith Schiller and then by Trump personal aid John McEntee once Schiller left. This is important because thecrux of this casecomes down to how the former president's team handled a hush money payment to Daniels.
  • On cross-examination, Manochio said she didn’t interact directly with Trump and she only sent him personal checks for his signature. She also testified that she also sent personal checks to Ivanka Trump.

Tracey Menzies

  • Menzies is the senior vice president of production and creative operations at Harper Collins. Testifying as a custodian of records for the publishing company, Menzies said.
  • Prosecutors read excerpts from the book "Think Big: Make it Happen in Business and Life" for the jury. Several of them were about Trump’s value of loyalty in his business. Other excerpts were about revenge.

Madeleine Westerhout

  • As the former director of Oval Office Operations, Westerhout was one of the chief gatekeepers to the president as his personal assistant.
  • When the 2016 “Access Hollywood” tape came out, Westerhout said she remembered it “rattling RNC leadership.” She testified that she recalled conversations about how to replace Trump on the presidential ticket, “if it came to that.” Later, she told the defense on cross-examination that Trump was not as concerned about the tape as those around him.
  • From Westerhout’s experience working with Trump, she said the former president was “attentive to things that were brought to his attention." She also testified about Trump’s preferences — including that he did not use a computer or have an email address and preferred hard copies of documents.
  • She said she recalls that Trump was “very upset” by the Stormy Daniels story potentially coming out. Westerhout testified that Trump spoke to Cohen around that time.

Judge makes other rulings: Judge Juan Merchan denied the defense's motion for a mistrial. He said he disagrees with the Trump team's assertion that Daniels gave a new account in her testimony this week. He also denied a motion to modify the gag order to allow Trump to talk about Daniels.

5:14 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Trump attacks judge in hush money trial after leaving court

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Former President Donald Trump attacked the judge presiding over his hush money trial in New York after court adjourned on Thursday.

In the hallway, he called Judge Juan Merchan “totally corrupt” and “conflicted.”

“Take a look at his conflict, it’s a disgrace to the city of New York, to the state of New York and to the country,” Trump said.

It comes after Stormy Daniels finished her testimony. She was on the stand for more than 6 hours over two days, describing her first meeting with Trump and their sexual encounter in 2006.

Remember: The former president is not allowed to talk about Daniels because of a gag order that has been imposed. However, it does not prevent Trump from attacking Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

5:04 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Court is adjourned

After issuing his ruling, Judge Juan Merchan dismissed the court until tomorrow morning.

"I’ll see you tomorrow at 9:30," he said.

5:19 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Judge Merchan denies defense motion for a mistrial

Judge Juan Merchan has denied the defense's motion for a mistrial.

Merchan says he disagrees with the Trump team's assertion that Stormy Daniels gave a new account in her testimony this week.

Before the ruling, Mechan says the jurors have to decide who they believe in the case of the encounter between Donald Trump and Daniels.

He notes that the people do not have to prove the encounter happened but because the defense has called her credibility into question, prosecutors have to make an effort to show her story is credible to prove their case.

"The more specificity Ms. Daniels can provide about the encounter, the more the jury can weigh whether the encounter did occur and if so whether they choose to credit Ms. Daniels’ story," Merchan says.

There were "many times Ms. Necheles could have objected but didn't," the judge says.

"For some unexplained reason that I still don't understand" there was no objection to certain testimony cited in the motion for a mistrial and again today, Merchan says.

"Why on earth she wouldn't object to the mention of a condom, I don’t understand," Merchan says of Trump attorney Susan Necheles.

5:03 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Trump leans back in his chair as judge knocks his legal team

Trump is leaning back and stretching as the judge knocks the defense for not objecting to more of Stormy Daniels' testimony.

Merchan has mentioned several portions of the proceedings he thinks Trump's lawyers could have objected to as he explains his ruling.

4:59 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Prosecutor says "very salacious details" were omitted that he's willing to file under seal if necessary

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass says there were "very salacious details" that were purposely omitted from Stormy Daniels' account, saying he's willing to make a sealed filing with those details if necessary.

Steinglass says the prosecution specifically chose not to ask questions in a way that would elicit some of those details, so as not to embarrass Trump.

For example, Steinglass notes that the judge sustained an objection to a question to Daniels about whether she "felt anything different" at the time of thealleged sexual encounter with Trump.

The prosecutor says Daniels would have testified that she felt the skin of a 60-year-old man, and that that was different for her as a 27-year-old woman at the time. Steinglass says that would've been corroborative of her allegations.

"We feel that we have very faithfully adhered to your honor's ruling," the prosecutor says, in summary.

4:56 p.m. ET, May 9, 2024

Steinglass says the prosecution was never intending to call Karen McDougal as a witness

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass confirms Karen McDougal — the model and actress who has said she was also paid to keep quiet about an affair with Trump — will not be called to take the stand.

"She was on our witness list, but we have never indicated an actual intention to call her," he says.

Day 14 of Trump New York hush money trial (2024)

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