"Tremendous influence": Lawyer testifies "Access Hollywood" tape helped Stormy Daniels hush deal

"There was very little interest" in Daniels' claim before the tape came out, Keith Davidson testified

By Charles R. Davis

Deputy News Editor

Published April 30, 2024 3:55PM (EDT)

Stormy Daniels (Getty/Ralf Hirschberger)
Stormy Daniels (Getty/Ralf Hirschberger)

There was "very little interest" in Stormy Daniels' story of an alleged tryst with former President Donald Trump until the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape in 2016, according to a former lawyer for the adult film star, testimony that boosts prosecutors' claims that the hush payment to her was intended to influence the election.

Keith Davidson, who previously represented Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, testified Tuesday that the recording of Trump boasting of sexual assault had a "tremendous influence" on the effort to buy the rights to her story.

"I think before, before [the] 'Access Hollywood' tape, there was very little interest from what I understand," Davidson said, according to NBC News.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his legal team have argued that the Trump campaign was thrown into turmoil by the "Access Hollywood" recording, prompting increased interest in silencing others with potentially damning stories to tell. Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to, prosecutors say, cover up a $130,000 payment to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Davidson said he did not believe that the money for the hush payment came from Michael Cohen himself. He testified that the believed the funds came from "Donald Trump or some corporate affiliation thereof."

“I believe that Michael Cohen was the personal attorney or general counsel for Donald Trump," Davidson said, according to The New York Times, "and that this story involved his client, that that was his interest in the story.”

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