Stormy Daniels expected to take the stand in Donald Trump's hush money trial

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels is expected to testify Tuesday in former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial, two sources say.

Payments made to Daniels by Trump’s then-lawyer Michael Cohen at the end of the 2016 presidential campaign are at the heart of the case, the first criminal trial of a former president. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in return for keeping quiet about her allegation that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the claim.

Trump, who Judge Juan Merchan has fined for repeatedly violating a gag order by attacking Daniels and Cohen, took to his social media platform before court to complain he’d “just recently been told who the witness is today.”

“This is unprecedented, no time for lawyers to prepare. No Judge has ever run a trial in such a biased and partisan way,” he wrote in a post that was taken down a short time later.

The Truth Social post went up shortly before the Associated Press first reported that Daniels was expected to testify on Tuesday. It’s unclear when Trump and his lawyers were told she’d be testifying — prosecutors have typically not been telling them who would take the stand until the day before, citing Trump’s record of witness commentary.

That Daniels would testify is not a surprise, however. Trump’s legal team had argued unsuccessfully that she should be barred from taking the stand, a request the judge requested before the trial started. Cohen is also expected to testify at some point.

Merchan fined Trump $1,000 on Monday morning, finding that he’d violated the April 1 gag order a 10th time. He warned that future violations could result in jail time.

Prosecutors estimated on Monday that they’ve passed the halfway mark in their case, which is now in its third week of testimony.

At the end of court Monday, Merchan asked prosecutors how the case was proceeding from a scheduling perspective and how much time they needed going forward.

“This week plus next week and possibly into the week after,” Joshua Steinglass of the Manhattan district attorney’s office said. “Two weeks from tomorrow, maybe?”

The exchange between Merchan and prosecutors took place after a day of testimony from a former Trump Organization controller and an accounts payable supervisor at the company who was the first current employee to take the stand.

In testimony Monday, former Trump Organization executive Jeff McConney testified about instructions he said he received from then-chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg about a plan to reimburse Cohen for $130,000 in expenses. McConney said that he essentially doubled the amount Cohen was owed to help with his taxes and that the payments were listed as a $35,000-a-month “retainer” for his legal services.

Deborah Tarasoff, an accounts payable supervisor and the first current Trump Organization employee to testify, was the person who cut the checks to Cohen. She said they were sent to Trump while he was president for his signature. The checks, which bore Trump’s distinctive Sharpie signature, were displayed for the jury Monday.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to the Daniels payment. He has pleaded not guilty.

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