Golf, sex and dollars: the scandal that landed Donald Trump in the dock

The affair began with a golf tournament between celebrities in July 2006 in Nevada, where Donald Trump took an somewhat glorious 62nd place. On the sidelines of the competition, he meets a pornographic film star, Stormy Daniels.

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In the idyllic setting of the shores of Lake Tahoe, the 27-year-old actress, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and the man who is then best known for his reality TV show, 60, a fleeting relationship that she claims was born. not having sought, but not refused.

There is nothing to suggest that, having become president, he will call her “horse-faced” and deny any intimate relationship with her, while she will give him the nickname “little thing”, in reference to his virile anatomy.

Stephanie Clifford is expected to be one of the main prosecution witnesses in the Republican presidential candidate’s criminal trial which opens Monday in New York.


At the time, the real estate magnate, who had just had a son with his wife Melania but cultivated a playboy image, clearly let rumors spread about the “hunting board” of his adventures, real or fantasized.

In the months that followed, Donald Trump promised Stormy Daniels a role in his show “The Apprentice”, but their contacts ceased once this project fell through, according to Stormy Daniels’ testimony.

The context changed radically in 2011 when Donald Trump, encouraged by flattering polls, entertained the idea of ​​running for the Republican nomination for the 2012 election against Democratic President Barack Obama.

Aware of the new interest in her story and saying she is convinced that it will eventually come out, with or without her consent, Stormy Daniels agrees to reveal it — for $15,000 — to “In Touch” magazine.

The newspaper even put her through a lie detector to make her story credible but, threatened with prosecution by the personal lawyer of billionaire Michael Cohen, decided not to publish the interview.

According to the actress, a stranger then approached her in a Las Vegas parking lot to intimidate her in the presence of her two-year-old daughter and order her to “forget Trump.”

Trump lawyer’s reversal

Donald Trump ultimately gave up running, but the issue resurfaced in 2016 when he won a series of Republican primaries, then the party’s nomination.

Stephanie Clifford then approaches the media attracted by her story, but Michael Cohen intervenes again to buy her silence, as previously for the “playmate” Karen McDougal.

His boss, already weakened by the broadcast of an old audio recording in which he boasts of being able to “grab” women “by the pussy”, could do without another scandal on this chapter.

After negotiations, the lawyer paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to Stormy Daniels as part of a confidentiality agreement (NDA) signed on October 28 under the pseudonyms “Peggy Peterson” and “David Dennison”.

Once Donald Trump was elected, the matter could have ended there, if the Wall Street Journal had not revealed the transaction in January 2018, less than a year after he took office.

Initially, Michael Cohen covered the president and assured that he had never been reimbursed.

After a few weeks, in March 2018, Stormy Daniels asked the courts to cancel the confidentiality agreement. She made media appearances and embarked on a tour of strip clubs entitled “Make America Horny Again”, inspired by the Republican candidate’s victorious slogan.

In October, she published her autobiography “Full disclosure,” in which she described her night with Donald Trump as “the least impressive” of her life and described her gender in an unflattering manner.

Targeted by several fraud investigations, Michael Cohen agrees to cooperate with investigators and turns against his client. In August 2018, he notably admitted having made the payment “at the request” of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who joined the president’s team of lawyers, spilled the beans by admitting, live on Fox, that the Trump Organization did reimburse Michael Cohen.

Donald Trump is forced to concede the payment but assures not to have used “campaign money”.

Because if neither the extramarital affair nor this payment is in principle a matter of justice, it is the fact of having disguised the reimbursement as legal costs which has made Donald Trump become the first former American president tried criminally.

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