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Stormy Daniels helped sink Trump in court, but she's keeping mum

By AFP

June 1, 2024 02:48 PM


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Stormy Daniels, the adult film actor and director, has never been shy in her public battles with Donald Trump.

But ever since her starring role in the New York trial that made him the first former US president to be a felon, she's not said a word.

It's a relationship that could come from the pages of a bad novel -- the playboy billionaire who wanted to be president and the porn actress who says they had a brief fling before she was sucked into illegal machinations intended to keep her quiet during an election.

A jury of 12 ordinary New Yorkers found Trump guilty on 34 counts of business fraud while attempting to cover up a hush money payment to Daniels on the eve of the tight 2016 election -- which the Republican went on to win against Hillary Clinton.

After years of exchanging insults with Trump over social media, including during his four years in the White House, Stormy Daniels -- whose real name is Stephanie Clifford -- suddenly found she was the one with the power.

Her testimony, including graphic descriptions of what she says was a 2006 bout of casual sex, was crucial in the prosecution case, which needed to show that Trump was afraid any leak of the story would doom his campaign.

In the aftermath, though, the 45-year-old has kept uncharacteristically quiet.

Her husband Barrett Blade told CNN that "she's still processing."

He suggested there could be more to her silence.

"You know, all the MAGA idiots are going to be coming after her," he said, referring to Trump's Make America Great Again movement.

In a bitterly divided country, those fears may not be far-fetched.

Daniels was wearing a bulletproof vest when she went to the New York courthouse, her lawyer Clark Brewster confirmed in an interview with a local ABC News channel.

"It's so vicious and threatening and so I think from the standpoint of just the fear of what somebody might do," he said of the atmosphere for Daniels.

"It was really fear."

Asked if this apprehension has increased in the wake of the Trump guilty verdict, Brewster said: "That would be a logical conclusion."

- 'Weight on her shoulders' -

Despite the emotional toll, Daniels feels "a little vindicated that you know, she was telling the truth," Blade said.

He said Daniels had not sought to face Trump across the courtroom in a case brought by Manhattan prosecutors.

The end of the trial is a relief -- "a big weight off her shoulders" -- Blade said.

The stress, though, is hardly over.

"It brings another weight upon her shoulders of what happens next," Blade said. "We take it day by day."

Daniels is a self-made woman who rose from a difficult childhood and through the challenging world of adult movies to become a successful businesswoman.

But in a recent documentary, she revealed that behind her outwardly tough, humorous persona on social media, she has been hurt by the constant insults from Trump and his supporters.

"Back in 2018 that was stuff like 'liar,' 'slut,' 'gold digger," she said in the film, "Stormy."

"This time around, it is very different. It is direct threats, it is, 'I'm going to come to your house and slit your throat,' 'your daughter should be euthanized.'"

By contrast, the other main prosecution witness in the trial, Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, has been eagerly telling his story in the wake of the trial.

The disgraced lawyer, who testified that he was at the heart of the former president's scheme to silence Daniels, has appeared on MSNBC and other major media.

"It was emotionally draining," Cohen told ABC News, adding that he was glad to have gone through the ordeal.

"I want people to also remember, I take responsibility for what I did," he said. "I accepted it and in part went to prison for it."


AFP


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