Stormy Daniels signed a contract to keep her mouth shut in mid-October 2016. She stamped her signature on the trunk of a car in the parking lot of a porn film set in California. Daniels -her real name is Stephanie Clifford- is an actress of the genre, raised in those southern communities where even whites are poor, ‘white trash’, white trash.
The other party to the contract was also white, but from the other geographical and economic end: Donald Trump, a New York brick tycoon, born a millionaire and, by then, on the verge of becoming president of the United States in a surprising and historic way.
The contract was simple: Trump would deliver $130,000 and the ‘pornstar’, his silence about an extramarital affair.
That piece of paper is today the reason that could lead Trump to his indictment and arrest, the first case for a former US president. A New York grand jury is about to decide on the criminal charges that the billionaire could face New Yorker for hush pay, which could have to do with violation of election finance laws, tax evasion or falsification of financial records.
The matter had its first appearance in the press on November 4, 2016, four days before the electoral appointment. ‘The Wall Street Journal’, one of the major media outlets less combative with Trump, detailed that ‘National Inquirer’, a tabloid whose owner is an ally of the former president, had ‘killed’ another Trump romance. This time, with a ‘Playboy’ model, Karen McDougal: ‘National Inquirer’ paid her $150,000 for the rights to his story, but with the intention of not publishing it. In its information, the New York newspaper mentioned that Daniels had been in negotiations with a television program to reveal a relationship with Trump.
The ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes
The reality was that the porn actress had tried to sell her story for months, but no one had paid much attention to her. That changed with the release in early October of the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump, unaware he had won a microphone, boasted of intimately touching women without his consent. Another scandal might have been too much for his campaign, and the Republican candidate, the hope of conservative voters, paid. On November 8, Trump celebrated his victory.
The case really broke out in 2018, with Trump in the White House. Daniels gave an interview to the prestigious ’60 Minutes’ program and recounted his relationship with the president. They met in July 2006, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where Trump, then a reality star with ‘The Apprentice’, invited her to dinner and to her suite. He promised her that he would put her on her show, the sexual encounters went on for months. Daniels ended up going into all kinds of details in a book about her relationship, including the shape of the presidential penis.
Trump denied everything. When that happened, his third wife, Melania, had been a mother a few months before. His defense began to falter due to the third fundamental leg of this story: Michael Cohen, his lawyer and his goad in shady matters. The lawyer was the one who orchestrated the payment to Daniels and put the money out of his pocket before receiving a refund from the Trump company.
In 2018, besieged by journalistic investigations and by the prosecution, he pleaded guilty to several charges related to the payments to Daniels and McDougal and pointed to Trump as the person who instructed him to do so and who later approved his reimbursement.
Since then, the case has swirled until the arrival of a new prosecutor in New York City. This is Alvin Bragg and he took possession of the Manhattan district last year. He revived the case, convened a grand jury, had Daniels and Cohen testify – Trump has chosen not to – and is about to get what many Democrats want: see Trump arrested.
That possibility has turned US politics into a pressure cooker. Trump is not only a former president, he is also the candidate for the presidency of the first world power of one of his two great parties. And, until proven otherwise, the favorite to get it on the Republican side.
The former president has predicted that his arrest will take place today and has called his supporters to protests, a call that is impossible to separate from the assault on the Capitol in January 2021. Party leaders, such as Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the House of Representatives , they balanced yesterday to attack a “political investigation” against Trump and, at the same time, call for calm and not to support protests.
The New York Police has organized a contingency plan for disorders due to the arrest and the mayor of the city, Eric Adams, assured yesterday that the authorities are “monitoring social networks” so that there are no “inappropriate actions in the city.” Yesterday there was a “peaceful protest” called by the New York Republican Youth Club before the courts, while in radical forums they called for a “national strike” and “stop society.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism