The Latest | Stormy Daniels returns to the stand for more questioning in Trump's hush money trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Stormy Daniels returned to the witness stand in Donald Trump’s hush money trial Thursday, two days after she spent hours recounting in sometimes graphic detail the alleged 2006 sexual encounter with the former president that she was eventually paid to keep quiet about during the 2016 presidential election.

The former president’s attorneys aggressively sought to poke holes in Daniels’ credibility during cross−examination, accusing the porn actor of trying to extort Trump and rehearsing her testimony — two assertions she forcefully denied. The defense also made a failed attempt to have a mistrial declared, arguing that Daniels’ morning testimony had “nothing to do with this case and is extremely prejudicial.”

Trump denies the two ever had sex.

Prosecutors say Trump and two of his associates orchestrated a scheme to influence the 2016 election by purchasing and then burying stories that might damage his campaign.

Daniels’ testimony is a build−up to the prosecution’s star witness Michael Cohen, who arranged the $130,000 payment to Daniels and later went to prison for orchestrating the payments and other charges.

Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records to cover up the hush money payments and instead recording them as legal expenses. He has pleaded not guilty.

The case is the first−ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury.

Currently:

— Here is what Stormy Daniels testified happened between her and Donald Trump

— Inside the courtroom where Trump was forced to listen to Stormy Daniels

— Hush money, catch and kill and more: Terms to know in Trump trial

— Key players: Who’s who at Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial

— The hush money case is just one of Trump’s legal cases. See the others here

Here’s the latest:

DANIELS RETURNS TO THE WITNESS STAND

Stormy Daniels has returned to the witness stand in Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

Trump lawyer Susan Necheles resumed her cross−examination of the porn actor, continuing with a line of questioning about Daniels’ 2016 efforts to sell her story of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. He says it never happened.

TRUMP WANTS HIS GAG ORDER REMOVED

Donald Trump’s lawyers asked New York’s mid−level appeals court on Wednesday to expedite a decision on his gag order appeal.

The court did not take immediate action but set deadlines for court filings in the next two weeks. If the court refuses to lift the gag order in Trump’s hush money case, his lawyers want permission to take their appeal to the state’s high court, called the Court of Appeals.

The gag order bars the former president from speaking publicly about jurors, witnesses and some others in his criminal trial.

TRUMP ARRIVES IN COURT

Donald Trump has arrived in court in Manhattan and entered the courtroom with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.

Scott filed into the first row of the courtroom gallery behind the defense table, joining Trump’s entourage. He spoke with Trump lawyer and spokesperson Alina Habba before taking a seat. He’s sitting next to Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten.

THE STORMY DANIELS EFFECT

Over the first few weeks of Donald Trump’s hush money trial, the scene outside the courthouse has largely settled into a routine — a few dozen members of the public, a typically small group of demonstrators and the journalists covering the day−to−day developments.

But the arrival of Stormy Daniels seems to have shifted that equilibrium.

With Daniels set to re−take the stand on Thursday, a far larger share of the public has amassed outside 100 Centre Street, alongside new ranks of media from the U.S. and abroad. A few minutes before 8 a.m., as lines swelled to their longest since the start of the trial, court officers said they had no choice but to turn people away.

Among the members of the public in line was Rose Brennan, a 63−year−old woman wearing a hand puppet meant to resemble Donald Trump. “He has accompanied me on many adventures,” she said of the puppet. “Even though I hoped he would have been retired by now.”

She said she and the puppet traveled from New Jersey, arriving outside the courthouse at 5:30 a.m. because “I just want to be a witness to history.”

A WEEK OF DEVELOPMENTS IN TRUMP’S OTHER CASES

Donald Trump is facing four criminal indictments and a civil lawsuit. You can track all of the cases here.

A Georgia appeals court on Wednesday agreed to review a lower court ruling allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to continue to prosecute the election interference case she brought against the former president.

On Tuesday, the federal judge in Florida presiding over the classified documents prosecution of Trump has canceled the May 20 trial date, postponing it indefinitely.

MEANWHILE, TRUMP LEANS INTO THE PAGEANTRY OF VICE PRESIDENTIAL TRYOUTS

As former President Donald Trump remains stuck in the courtroom listening to salacious details of an extramarital sexual encounter he denies, another spectacle is playing out in the background as his vice presidential tryouts get underway.

The dynamic was on full display in Florida at a fundraiser at his Mar−a−Lago club that doubled as a VP audition.

“This weekend, we had 15 people. ... They’re all out there campaigning,” Trump told Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin on Tuesday. “It might actually be more effective this way because, you know, every one of them thinks they could be chosen, which I guess possibly is so.”

For now, the presumptive GOP nominee is happy to revel in the attention as reporters parse his choices and prospective candidates jockey and woo him in an “Apprentice”−style competition.

A GUIDE TO UNIQUE TERMS USED AT TRUMP’S NEW YORK CRIMINAL TRIAL

Hush money, catch and kill and more: Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial is full of terms you don’t typically hear in a courtroom.

Centering on allegations Trump falsified his company’s records to conceal the nature of hush money reimbursements, it’s the first−ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of Trump’s four indictments to go to trial. It also has some unique terminology.

The Associated Press defines these terms and more here.

WHERE DOES DANIELS FIT INTO THE HUSH MONEY TRIAL?

Porn actor Stormy Daniels will return to the witness stand in Donald Trump’s hush money trial on Thursday morning.

Though she is the latest high−profile name to be called up for questioning, Daniels is key to the events and charges at the center of the criminal case against the former president.

Daniels has said that in 2006, she and Trump had sex in his hotel suite during a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf outing where her studio was a sponsor. She testified Tuesday that the encounter was “brief” but left her “shaking.”

“I just wanted to leave,” she testified.

A decade later, she was paid $130,000 in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race to keep quiet about the encounter. Trump denies having sex with Daniels.

Michael Cohen, then Trump’s attorney, paid Daniels through a shell corporation he created and the deal was finalized on Nov. 1, 2016, just a week before Election Day.

Prosecutors have said that payments from Trump reimbursing Cohen were falsely — and illegally — logged as legal fees to cover up their actual purpose. Trump’s lawyers contend the payments were legitimate legal expenses.

TRUMP EXPECTED IN COURT AS HUSH MONEY TRIAL RESUMES

Donald Trump is expected in Manhattan court Thursday morning as witness testimony resumes in his criminal trial.

Porn actor Stormy Daniels will return to the stand after defense attorneys began grilling her during cross−examination Tuesday afternoon.

The former president spent most of Tuesday listening to Daniels tell jurors about her background and upbringing, her career in the adult entertainment industry and how it led to meeting Trump, and — ultimately — the alleged 2006 sexual encounter that resulted in a six−figure payoff in exchange for her silence a decade later during the 2016 presidential election.

It remains to be seen who will take the stand after Daniels’ concludes her testimony.

The Associated Press

Photo: AP