OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Stormy Daniels, the adult film star at the center of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment against former President Donald Trump, has been hit with another round of bad news.
Rich Lowry, the editor-in-chief of the National Review, published an analysis detailing how “Donald Trump and his legal team say that Stormy Daniels extorted him, they are right.”
“There’s been a lot of focus on the timing of the $130,000 payment to Daniels near the end of the 2016 campaign. Trump’s pursuers say this shows how the hush money was all about making the story go away right before the election. But the timing was also a function of Daniels and her side realizing that right after the release of the Access Hollywood tape was the point of maximum leverage to make an extortionate demand,” Lowry wrote.
“Make no mistake, though, the difference between what Stormy Daniels was doing in 2016 and what gets people prosecuted for extortion is one of degree, not of kind. It takes two to tango — the women made the demands, and Trump paid up because it was worth it to him to make these stories go away. Again, he was no victim, but the women who cashed in were neither victims nor saints,” he added.
Lowry concluded his piece by arguing: “Daniels threatened Trump with exposure, got a handsome payoff to keep quiet, and ended up talking anyway. That’s pretty much a master class in how to do an extortionate demand work.”
Daniels being accused of extortion comes after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals awarded Trump $121,962.56 in attorney fees from Daniels.
The nearly $122,00 is in addition to the roughly $500,000 that she was ordered to pay him last year.
The ruling came down as Trump was in Manhattan and pleaded not guilty to 34 charges regarding allegations that he falsified business records related to Daniels’s hush money case.
Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in a case involving his purported role in hush money payments to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, allegedly to keep Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is separate from the Manhattan case.
Daniels made headlines again last week when she sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan, in which she said she would testify against the former president if asked. Daniels also said that even she does not think Trump should be incarcerated based on this case.
“I just finished an astonishing 90-minute interview with Stormy Daniels,” the interviewer said on Twitter. “Everyone’s had their say about her, now she tells HER story about the fling that may send President Trump to prison.”
“It’s daunting, but I look forward to it. You know what I mean? Because I have nothing to hide,” Daniels said of testifying. “I’m the only one that has been telling the truth. And, you know, it can’t shame me anymore.”
“I think having them call me in and put me on the stand legitimizes my story and who I am. And if they don’t, it almost feels like they’re hiding me,” she said.
She does not believe he deserves to be imprisoned in the hush money case, but had thoughts on other cases against him.
“I don’t think that his crimes against me are worthy of incarceration,” she said. “I feel like the other things that he has done, if he is found guilty. Absolutely.”
Stormy Daniels on if Donald Trump deserves jail time:
"I don't think that his crimes against me are worthy of incarceration."pic.twitter.com/WgMQTRHvnH
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) April 6, 2023
Top talk radio and Fox News host Mark Levin ripped into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg after Trump’s court appearance and the unsealing of Bragg’s indictment.
“There has to be an underlying crime. Well, people are saying, ‘Well, what is it?’ I’m saying, well, what underlying crime did Donald Trump commit? He didn’t commit any underlying crime, and he wasn’t charged with any underlying crime. He wasn’t charged with federal election violations, even though that’s not the jurisdiction of the D.A. There’s nothing here,” Levin said.
“But I want to get into something here. Donald Trump is a historic figure, or they would not be doing this. They would not be doing this,” Levin continued. “There would not have been a January 6 committee. There would not have been a Mueller criminal investigation. There would not have been two phony impeachments.
“Listen to this America, there would not have been a warrant, which is inexcusable and an unconstitutional warrant in my view, an FBI swat team sent to his home. There has been in the course of the last few months five grand juries controlled by Democrats,” he continued.
“Over what? You would have thought this man took money from the communist Chinese. You would have thought his son took money from the communist Chinese. You would have thought he is the criminal of this century,” Levin quipped.
“The Manhattan D.A. should be disbarred not only because of the way he campaigned – because you know what? This is crap that a pre-law student shouldn’t even put in front of a damn judge,” he railed.