The hush money scandal involving former US President Donald Trump continues to make headlines as a grand jury hears testimony related to the infamous payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. While many expected Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to be the most notable witness, it turns out that Daniels was also present, albeit remotely, for the grand jury hearing.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was represented by her lawyer Clark Brewster during the hearing. Following the hearing, Brewster confirmed that his client had responded to questions and had agreed to make herself available as a witness.
However, Trump and his allies wasted no time in dismissing Daniels’ testimony. In a statement released shortly after the hearing, Trump referred to Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ former lawyer, as a “conman lawyer”. While Avenatti has been convicted of various crimes, it’s worth noting that Daniels hired new counsel four years ago, so Avenatti’s legal troubles are not directly related to the current hush money scandal.
Trump also suggested that Daniels was using the hearing as a publicity stunt. However, NBC News confirmed that Daniels was in Florida at the time and the meeting with the Manhattan district attorney’s office was held online. Daniels’ lawyer also confirmed that the meeting was at the request of the Manhattan DA’s office.
Despite the dismissive tone of Trump’s statement, the fact that Daniels was present at the hearing could be significant. As a key figure in the hush money scandal, Daniels’ testimony could provide valuable information about Trump’s involvement in the payment and whether he violated campaign finance laws.
The payment to Daniels, which was made just weeks before the 2016 presidential election, was allegedly intended to keep her from speaking publicly about her affair with Trump. Cohen has previously pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws in connection with the payment and was sentenced to three years in prison.
While Trump has denied any wrongdoing, the hush money scandal has continued to dog him in the years since the payment was made. In addition to the ongoing grand jury hearing, the scandal has also led to multiple investigations by federal and state authorities.
The fact that Daniels was present at the grand jury hearing could be seen as a sign that the investigation is ramping up. While it’s unclear what information Daniels provided during the hearing, her presence suggests that prosecutors are taking the case seriously and are actively seeking to gather evidence.
It’s worth noting that the hush money scandal is just one of several legal challenges facing Trump. He is also under investigation for his role in the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol, and faces a number of lawsuits related to his business dealings and alleged sexual misconduct.
Despite these legal challenges, Trump remains a popular figure among many Republicans, and there are indications that he may run for president again in 2024. While it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the coming years, it’s clear that the hush money scandal will continue to be a source of controversy and speculation for some time to come.