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Stormy Daniels’s Brutal Mockery of Trump Makes Conviction More Likely

A former federal prosecutor explains how the porn star's testimony, which lampooned Donald Trump, also moved the trial in a good direction for the prosecution.

J.C. Olivera/Getty Images
Stormy Daniels in Los Angeles on May 11, 2022.

On Thursday, Stormy Daniels faced tough cross examination from Donald Trump’s attorneys in his hush money trial in Manhattan. By most accounts, she responded with humor and harsh mockery directed at Trump, which helped parry their assaults on her credibility. The ridicule, however, could serve another purpose: It could help convince the jury that Trump had a clear motive for committing crimes related to the hush-money scheme. We talked to former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade, who explains how Daniels’s testimony may have damaged Trump more deeply than it first appears.