Trump’s lawyer told to stop former president from ‘cursing audibly’ during trial

US

Donald Trump’s lawyer has been told by a judge to stop the former president from “cursing audibly” and “shaking his head” during Stormy Daniels’ testimony at his hush money trial.

Judge Juan Merchan said the former president’s swearing had the “potential to intimidate” Ms Daniels – the porn star who was paid to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

The judge also told lawyer Todd Blanche that Trump had at one stage “uttered a vulgarity” during Ms Daniels’ testimony in New York on Tuesday.

The conversation took place during a sidebar at the trial – where a lawyer is called to speak to the judge about something so that the jury and the rest of the courtroom cannot hear.

Details of the exchange add to what would have already been remembered as a surreal day in court, as Ms Daniels described a sexual encounter she claims she had with Trump in Lake Tahoe.

As it happened: Stormy Daniels testifies for first time during hush money trial

The official court transcript reveals that after Ms Daniels had given part of her testimony, the judge told Mr Blanche: “I understand that your client is upset at this point, but he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually and that’s contemptuous.

“It has the potential to intimidate the witness and the jury can see that.”

Mr Blanche responded by saying he would talk to Trump, the transcript shows.

Image:
Stormy Daniels leaves court on Tuesday. Pic: AP

Mr Merchan also told Mr Blanche: “I am speaking to you here at the bench because I don’t want to embarrass him.”

The judge continued: “You need to speak to him. I won’t tolerate that.”

Mr Blanche again told Mr Merchan that he would talk to Trump before the judge spoke further about the former president’s behaviour in the courtroom.

The judge said: “One time I noticed when Ms Daniels was testifying about rolling up the magazine, and presumably smacking your client, and after that point he shook his head and he looked down. And later, I think he was looking at you, Mr. Blanche, later when were talking about The Apprentice, at that point he again uttered a vulgarity and looked at you this time. Please talk to him at the break, Mr Blanche.”

Mr Blanche responded by saying he would talk to his client.

Read more:
Who is Stormy Daniels?
Analysis: This was Trump with his trousers down

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Stormy Daniels recalls bedroom encounter with Trump

Following Ms Daniels’ testimony, the Trump team used its opportunity to question the adult film star to paint her as motivated by personal hatred of the former president and hoping to profit off her claims against him.

It comes after the judge found on Monday that Trump had again violated a gag order that bars him from disparaging witnesses or the jury.

Mr Merchan warned Trump he could face jail time “if necessary” for any further violations. Trump has already been fined $10,000 (£8,000) for breaches of the gag order.

What is the trial about?

Payments made to Ms Daniels by Trump’s then lawyer Michael Cohen near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign are at the heart of the hush money case.

Cohen paid Ms Daniels $130,000 (£104,000) in return for her keeping quiet about her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump.

Ms Daniels testified on Tuesday about the contact she said she had with Trump and the payment to buy her silence.

Trump, the Republican candidate for president again ahead of this year’s election, has pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records to cover up the payment and denies having sex with Ms Daniels.

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