Trump trial judge compared to ‘corrupt dictatorships’ as Stormy Daniels unleashes salacious testimony

Legal experts railed against former pornographic actress Stormy Daniels’ salacious testimony as “prejudicial” on Tuesday, as former President Trump’s legal team moved for a mistrial that ultimately failed in the action-packed court day.

“I used to try cases for a living. I still have a pretty good sense of what evidence is relevant, what is prejudicial and what is completely over-the-top inadmissible. What the judge is letting in today in the Trump trial in NYC will be remembered as a dark stain on our judicial system, reminiscent of corrupt dictatorships. Shame on the prosecution for undermining our judicial system,” David Friedman, a lawyer and former U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Trump administration, posted on X.

The comment came ahead of Trump’s legal team moving for a mistrial as Daniels went into detail regarding her alleged sexual encounter with the real estate mogul in 2006.

“THE PROSECUTION, WHICH HAS NO CASE, HAS GONE TOO FAR. MISTRIAL!” Trump posted on Truth Social Tuesday.

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

This courtroom sketch shows Stormy Daniels as she is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former President Trump’s criminal trial in New York City on May 7, 2024. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

“This Witch Hunt is FALSE ANCIENT HISTORY that was fully adjudicated by the Voters in the 2016 Presidential Election. It only has to do with Election Interference, and trying to help Crooked Joe Biden get elected because he can’t do it by himself. It is a vicious attack by the Soros backed D.A., Alvin Bragg, in strict coordination with the D.O.J. and the White House, on Biden’s Political Opponent, ME. IT IS ILLEGAL, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND STRICTLY THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!”

The motion for a mistrial was ultimately denied by presiding Judge Juan Merchan.

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends his trial

Former President Trump attends his criminal trial in New York City on May 7, 2024. (Win McNamee/Pool via Reuters)

Daniels detailed to the court that she met Trump in 2006 at Lake Tahoe during a celebrity golf tournament. She alleged that the pair had sex in Trump’s hotel room during the event, which Trump has repeatedly denied in public comments. Daniels’ testimony also included describing to the court how she got into the pornography business after working as an exotic dancer as a teenager.

The case revolves around the alleged falsification of business records. Prosecutors say Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 to quiet her claims of the alleged extramarital sexual encounter. Prosecutors allege the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses, and they are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony.

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Legal experts sounded off on social media that Daniels’ testimony was irrelevant to the case and that it should not have been admitted into the record.

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

This courtroom sketch shows Stormy Daniels as she is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger during former President Trump’s criminal trial in New York City on May 7, 2024. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

“The salacious testimony of Stormy Daniels is not only prejudicial, but irrelevant, so by no rationale under the evidentiary rule should it have been admitted,” attorney David Limbaugh posted on X.

“Stormy Daniels testified against Trump this morning, going into salacious detail about the alleged sexual encounter. This is irrelevant. It has no bearing on the issue in the trial, which is whether Trump hid the payment to her in order to influence the 2016 election,” an Indianapolis civil rights attorney wrote in a post. “In a fair trial the judge would exclude that line of questioning.”

“In a flagrant violation of NY’s rules of evidence and judicial ethics guidelines, the judge is allowing Stormy Daniels to ‘run wild’ with her highly prejudicial testimony, running roughshod over the objections of Trump’s attorneys, and allowing Daniels to vividly discuss every last salacious detail about the alleged interaction she had with Trump,” posted Paul Ingrassia, a lawyer and communications direction for the National Constitutional Law Union.

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“Prosecutors are asking how tall she is relative to Trump and whether there was a power dynamic between them. Now asking about their alleged sexual affair, the position they were in, whether they were intoxicated, ‘uncomfortable,’ and ‘how they closed it off,’” Ingrassia added, calling the questioning and testimony “totally out of line.”

The former president’s son, Eric Trump, also weighed in on the testimony, calling it “garbage.” Eric Trump attended court again with the 45th president on Tuesday, where he viewed witness testimony.

“Perspective: Sitting front row attempting to figure out how any of this garbage from 20 years ago relates to ‘legal’ bills submitted by a long time (sic) personal attorney being booked as a ‘legal’ expense – but I digress,” Eric Trump posted to his X account on Tuesday.

“To be clear, they don’t give a s— about the merits of this case – the 15 Manhattan prosecutors are sitting at their table and behind in the courthouse pews, giddy by this salacious show. This is the intent, not the merits, nor the fact that this entire case is a massive extortion play,” he continued.

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Judge Merchan poses for photo

Judge Juan Merchan (AP Photos/File)

Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley said Daniels is “an entirely unnecessary witness,” with her testimony serving as a “form of punishment” against Trump.

“And the problem with what the judge has done here is that this is an entirely unnecessary witness. It is uncontested that there’s an NDA. … What happened in their relationship, if there was one, is immaterial to how those payments were denoted by the Trump campaign. So, the court had the opportunity repeatedly to say, ‘We’re not going to take this courtroom through details of this relationship,'” Turley said on Fox News.

“This is a form of punishment. They’re trying to use a witness for punitive purposes and, in my view, political purposes, and this is what happens. And it happened because the judge lost control of his courtroom.”

Turley: Stormy Daniels is 'entirely unnecessary witness' Video

Following a break Tuesday morning, Merchan said prosecutors were going into too much detail when questioning Daniels.

“The degree of detail we’re going into is unnecessary,” the judge told Manhattan prosecutor Susan Hoffinger, asking her to move the testimony along.

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The defense team repeatedly objected to the prosecutors’ questions, which included intimate details of the alleged sexual encounter. Trump’s team argued there was no need for the details, adding there was also an issue with her credibility and noting Daniels had signed a statement in 2018 saying the sex act didn’t happen.

Daniels confirmed in testimony that she had signed the 2018 statement but did not do so “willingly,” alleging it was not factual and that she was under a nondisclosure agreement.

Stormy Daniels stands in front of a pink background

Stormy Daniels (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images/File)

As Trump’s team moved for a mistrial, attorney Todd Blanche told the court that the district attorney’s office, which is headed by Democrat Alvin Bragg, was working to inflame the jury with testimony that had no bearing on the case.

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Merchan said Tuesday that a mistrial is not warranted but that some of Daniels’ testimony should have been “left unsaid,” and he noted he was surprised the defense team did not object more frequently during the testimony.

“I agree that it would have been better if some of these things had been left unsaid,” he said.

 

“I will also note that I was surprised that there weren’t more objections” from Trump’s legal team, Merchan added, saying the defense team needed to take some responsibility.