Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen could sink prosecution of Trump: legal expert
Porn star Stormy Daniels (R) is suing to dissolve an agreement that prevents her from discussing an affair she claims to have had with US President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN, Ethan Miller)

The hush-money payments case against former President Donald Trump could be put at risk by the prosecution’s star witnesses, a legal expert has warned.

Shan Wu, a former federal prosecutor, wrote for The Daily Beast that the adult film star Stormy Daniels – the woman Trump is accused of having an affair with and organizing a payment of $130,000 to buy her silence – could put the trial in jeopardy.

"Daniels’ profession as a porn actress may make prosecutors worry that some members of a jury might hold that against her,” he wrote.

“Such prejudices have often made prosecutors — who are guilty of those prejudices themselves — hesitant about bringing cases in which female victims may have any association with sex industries."

Couple that with another key witness, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen who was jailed after pleading guilty to charges of paying Daniels – and the trial against Trump is in no way a slam dunk, Wu says.

The defense will almost certainly attack the character and reliability of both, he wrote.

“The challenges with using both Cohen and Daniels as witnesses are easily managed with sufficient preparation time and careful strategizing on the part of the prosecutors. While the case originated some seven years ago, Bragg’s apparent sudden haste to bring charges raises questions about just how much time he devoted to thinking through his strategy and preparation.”

He added: “If Bragg gets this case to a jury, then it will not be a complicated story to tell. It’s simply the tale of a man who wanted to buy silence, as Trump has done successfully for decades.”