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Stormy Daniels Is Steady on the Stand: 5 Takeaways From Trump’s Trial

In a combative cross-examination Thursday, Stormy Daniels battled the former president’s lawyers as they attacked her account of a sexual encounter with Donald J. Trump in a Nevada hotel.

Susan Necheles, a lawyer defending Mr. Trump in his criminal trial, spent almost three hours delving into Ms. Daniels’s memories of that 2006 night in Lake Tahoe, as well as suggesting that Ms. Daniels’s desire to tell her story was motivated only by money. Eventually, Ms. Necheles went straight to the point.

“You made all this up, right?” she asked.

Ms. Daniels responded forcefully: “No.”

At the conclusion of the day, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, asked Justice Juan M. Merchan whether he would modify a gag order to let Mr. Trump respond publicly to Ms. Daniels’s testimony. The judge denied the request and Mr. Trump’s second motion this week for a mistrial.

The former president is accused of falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels just before the 2016 election, a payment meant to silence her story. Mr. Trump, 77, has denied the charges and says he did not have sex with Ms. Daniels. If convicted, he could face prison or probation.

Here are five takeaways from Mr. Trump’s 14th day on trial.

Trump’s lawyers tried to make money a motive.

Ms. Necheles repeatedly attacked Ms. Daniels, a former porn star, for trying to monetize her story about Mr. Trump with a book, a tour of strip clubs and merchandise like a $40 devotional candle depicting herself as a saint.

But Mr. Trump himself has spent decades preaching the glories of wealth, in books and on “The Apprentice,” and has peddled an array of Trump-branded merchandise. Ms. Daniels had a simple response when asked about promoting her branded products online.

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