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Ghosts, Sex And Some Stormy Weather

Stormy Daniels has embraced her role as a key antagonist to Trump, the Republican challenger to Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 election. And there's more to her than just adult movies.
Stormy Daniels

NEW YORK: Adult film star Stormy Daniels has built a lucrative business empire around her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Donald Trump.

The alleged encounter is now at the centre of the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president, with Daniels, 45, taking the stand for the prosecution on Tuesday.

Trump, 77, is accused of covering up his reimbursement to former lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to Daniels to buy her silence before the 2016 election about the alleged sexual encounter, which took place while he was married to his third wife, Melania.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up the payment, and denies the encounter. Trump’s lawyers unsuccessfully sought to block her testimony, claiming she would tell “contrived stories.”

Daniels has embraced her role as a key antagonist to Trump, the Republican challenger to Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election.

In a documentary streaming service Peacock launched on March 18, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said being at the centre of the scandal and receiving frequent vitriolic attacks from Trump supporters online had taken a toll on her emotionally.

But that has not stopped her from frequently mocking Trump as well as critics of her line of work. “A major network has spent a lot of money making a documentary about me AND I get to testify against tiny!” she wrote in an apparent reference to Trump in a Feb. 6 social media post.

“Look at me! Living the American dream while doing a job I love!” Stormy Daniels wrote in the reply on the social media platform X to a user who insulted her.

The case’s lurid nature has prompted criticism across the political spectrum that the charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office are not as serious as Trump’s other state and federal criminal cases, which focus on his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss and his handling of government documents after leaving the White House.

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Bragg has countered that the hush money case is about Trump’s alleged scheme to corrupt the 2016 election.


Daniels is an author, director and media personality. In 2020, she launched her own reality TV show, “Spooky Babes,” in which she searches haunted houses as a “paranormal investigator,” and she once flirted with a U.S. Senate bid as a Democrat-turned-Republican.

She has said her childhood was marred by sexual assault and poverty. Growing up in Louisiana with a single mother, “we were just trash. And my mom was a train wreck, and my clothes didn’t fit, and I was poor and I smelled,” Daniels told Vice News in 2021.

Daniels said she had been a straight-A student and editor of her high school newspaper when she left home and started stripping to support herself.

She continued working in adult entertainment after graduating from high school and began her career in adult films in 2002, according to the Vice News interview. Daniels soon began winning industry awards and landed roles in TV shows and films such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”

Prosecutors say the October 2016 payment to Daniels came after a leaked “Access Hollywood” clip in which Trump boasted about forcing himself on women, saying that as a celebrity, he could “grab ’em by the pussy” It was a remark he later played down as “locker room talk.”

The recording prompted concern in his campaign about his standing with female voters, prosecutors say.

Trump’s lawyers have suggested the payment was intended to spare his company and his family from embarrassment, not to help his campaign.

Daniels is married to a fellow adult film star, and has a young daughter and a horse farm. The Peacock documentary showed Daniels learning that her daughter had gotten straight A’s in school while she was away filming an interview about Trump shortly after his indictment last year.

“Instead of being there with her,” Daniels said, “I’m here talking about an ex-president’s penis.”