From sex tapes to celeb name-dropping, here’s the latest scoop on Trump’s hush money trial

From sex tapes to celeb name-dropping, here’s the latest scoop on Trump’s hush money trial
Donald Trump's lawyer Emil Bove grilled Keith Davidson, Stormy Daniels' (R) ex-attorney (Getty Images)

5 takeaways from witness testimony in Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial

(Getty Images)
Hulk Hogan, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and Tila Tequila were all mentioned by Donald Trump's lawyer, Emil Bove when questioning Keith Davidson, Stormy Daniels' ex-attorney of his prior instances of cash-for-dirt negotiations with other celebrities (Getty Images)

The New York criminal trial involving former President Donald Trump's hush-money payments has been marked by the presence of The National Enquirer, a popular tabloid. However, during Thursday's testimony, the emphasis on celebrities and their sex tapes and rehab stories was so pronounced that it appeared to have taken over the proceedings entirely. Charlie Sheen, Hulk Hogan, Lindsay Lohan, Capri Anderson, and Tila Tequila were all mentioned during Thursday morning's testimony. These celebrity names were brought up because each had some kind of interaction with attorney Keith Davidson, a key witness for the prosecution who previously represented both former Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal and adult movie star Stormy Daniels. According to Manhattan prosecutors, Trump had falsified 34 business records to conceal an illegal hush-money payment to Daniels, which had the potential to influence the 2016 presidential election. Davidson testified that both women had sought payment from The National Enquirer to bury their stories of sexual encounters with Trump. However, during the cross-examination, Trump's attorney, Emil Bove, attempted to distance the embattled ex-Commander-in-Chief and his presidential campaign from Davidson's prior instances of profiting off of celebrities. Bove questioned Davidson, "You've never met President Trump, correct?" "Never," Davidson answered. Bove pressed him further, "And Tuesday was the first time that you've been in the same room as him, right?" "That's true," the witness replied. "You've never spoken to President Trump?" Bove asked. "Never," Davidson answered.

1. Keith Davidson’s prior involvement in celeb scandals

(CBS New York/YouTube, Emil Bove/LinkedIn)
Testimony resumed for the second week with Keith Davidson (L), former attorney of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, taking the witness stand in the Donald Trump hush money criminal trial on Thursday with Emil Bove (R), Donald Trump's attorney interrogating him of his past instances of soliciting money off of celebrities (CBS New York/YouTube, Emil Bove/LinkedIn)

During Thursday’s criminal trial proceedings, attorney Emil Bove launched a series of questions aimed at discrediting Keith Davidson, the former lawyer of Stormy Daniels, who was a major source of news stories for the editor of the National Enquirer. Bove implied that Davidson had built a career around extortion and scandal-mongering, insinuating that former President Trump was a victim, not a perpetrator, of any alleged hush-money payments. According to Bove, the witness had a history of soliciting money from celebrities in exchange for keeping potentially harmful information confidential, which he characterized as ‘extortion’. Bove asked Davidson, "What does the word 'extortion' mean to you?" Davidson trailed off, "Extortion is the —It's the obtaining of property by threat of fear or force," he stated. Bove then asked, "When you were negotiating on behalf of Ms McDougal and on behalf of Stormy Daniels, one of your concerns was staying on the right side of the line with respect to extortion, correct?" Davidson responded in a reticent manner, "I suppose." At some other point during Thursday’s trial proceedings, Bove asked, "In 2016, you were well-versed in getting right up to the line, without committing extortion, right?" "I don't understand the question," Davidson replied after a pause. It was at this moment that Bove opened the floodgates to his further interrogation of a list of celebrities Davidson had solicited money off of in the past.

2. Hulk Hogan

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 04: Hulk Hogan attends WWE 20th Anniversary Celebration Marking Pr
Hulk Hogan's notorious sex tape was brought up by Donald Trump's lawyer, Emil Bove, while questioning Stormy Daniels' ex-attorney, Keith Davidson, in an attempt to portray his client's hush money payment as 'extortion' on Davidson's part (Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s attorney, Emil Bove, proceeded to interrogate Keith Davidson by asking him, "Isn't it a fact that in connection with events in 2012, you were investigated by state and federal authorities for committing extortion against Terry Bollea — Hulk Hogan." "That's true," Davidson replied. He then admitted to pursuing the former pro-wrestler for cash in order for him to purchase and bury the infamous sex tape. "At some point in 2012, you reached out to Hulk Hogan's representatives, right?" Bove asked. "Yes," Davidson replied. "You made a monetary demand to Hulk Hogan's representative in order to not publish these tapes, correct?" Bove questioned. "No," Davidson answered. Shortly after, during Bove's ongoing cross-examination, Davidson went back on his prior statement. "Did you ask for money?" Bove asked again. Davidson responded, vaguely, "There was a monetary demand made." Bove pressed further, "Was it for purchase, so that Hulk Hogan could purchase the tapes? The rights to the tapes?" "Yes," Davidson conceded.

3. Lindsay Lohan 

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 06:  Actress Lindsay Lohan attends a probation revocation hearing at the Beve
Actress Lindsay Lohan's treatment at the Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic in 2010 was brought up during defense lawyer Emil Bove's cross-examination of Thursday's witness Keith Davidson in Donald Trump's hush money criminal trial proceedings (Getty Images)

Keith Davidson claimed to have represented an employee at the Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic in 2010. And she "leaked information about the treatment of Lindsay Lohan at a rehab facility, correct?" Bove asked. After a lengthy pause, Davidson took a sip of water. The witness said, "It was reported that that's what she did." After pointing out that TMZ published the article, Bove enquired, "And you had connections at TMZ at the time, right?" "True," Davidson replied. "You still do, right?" Bove asked. "No. Well, perhaps," Davidson answered. "Perhaps," Bove remarked, a little skeptic. He then insisted that Davidson assisted the former rehab staff member in receiving payment related to the Lohan leak. "I don't recall," Davidson replied. Bove asked once again, "You don't recall that TMZ paid $10,000 around this time?” "I don't recall," Davidson maintained.

4. Tila Tequila

Tila Tequila enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios on August 27, 2015 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Tila Tequila's purported sex tape was Emil Bove's point of contention with Keith Davidson's hesitant account of him brokering a deal with one, Kevin Blatt, back in 2010, when the lawyer was serving a 90-day bar suspension (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Stormy Daniels' ex-lawyer, Keith Davidson was subsequently asked a startling question by Trump's attorney Emil Bove regarding the reality TV star, Tila Tequila. "Do you know who Tila Tequila is?" Bove asked. "I do," Davidson replied. "And in 2010, you took steps to broker a deal of a sex tape involving her, correct?" Bove questioned. "I believe so," Davidson said. Davidson was pressed further about his involvement in that "engagement" with Kevin Blatt, who was "sort of known as a sex tape broker, is that right?" With caution, Davidson responded, "I think that's fair." Bove then grilled Davidson on whether he remembered "Ms Tequila" being threatened with the release of the purported sex tape if she failed to pay $75,000. "I don't recall that," Davidson replied. "You don't recall at the time of that transaction, you were on a 90-day bar suspension?" Bove asked. "I don't recall that," Davidson responded, once again.

5. Charlie Sheen

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20:  Actor Charlie Sheen poses for a portrait session at the Majestic hotel dur
Actor Charlie Sheen was also name-dropped at Donald Trump's hush-money criminal trial proceedings on Thursday (Getty Images)

Trump's lawyer Emil Bove's cross-examination eventually came to Hollywood star Charlie Sheen's case, when he asked Davidson, "You know who Charlie Sheen is, right?" "I do," Davidson replied. "And you've represented some clients who you helped get paid by Charlie Sheen, right?" Bove asked. "I've represented several clients who had claims against Charlie Sheen," Davidson answered cautiously. "And who you extracted sums of money from Charlie Sheen on behalf of, correct?" the defense lawyer pressed further. Davidson smilingly responded, "There was no extraction," adding, "We asserted that there was tortious activity committed and valid settlements that were executed." Bove urged Davidson to open up about his representation of one Sheen accuser he said "was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time," in 2011. Agreeing to Davidson's representation, Bove questioned, "You don't recall she was barely completing sentences when you got her to sign the letter?" "No, I don't recall that," Davidson said. In his testimony, Davidson stated that he did recall that Blatt, the alleged "sex-tape broker," had recommended him to the woman. However, he couldn't recall if Sheen gave the woman $2 million. "Is it fair to say that your memory seems a little fuzzy around some of these issues?" Bove asked. "I've had 1,500 clients in my career," Davidson snarked. "You're asking me about events that took place many, many years ago." "A $2 million payment is a typical payment for you on one of these cases? So much so that you don't remember it? Is that your testimony?" Bove shot back with a raised voice. "I don't remember a settlement from 13 years ago," Davidson responded. Davidson was questioned further by Bove about his recollection of "extracting another settlement from Mr Sheen" during his time as Capri Anderson's attorney during the Sheen segment of Thursday's hearing. "Again, it was no extraction," Davidson protested. "You got Mr Sheen to pay, correct?" Bove asked. "Assuming arguendo that he did pay and that there was a settlement agreement, that settlement would be confidential," Davidson fumed. "And I would not discuss it here." "Look," Bove retaliated. "We're both lawyers. I'm not here to play lawyer games with you. I'm just here to ask questions and get straight answers." The prosecution objected to this non-question, and the judge consequently upheld their objection. Davidson then refused to comment on whether Anderson and Sheen had reached a settlement, citing attorney-client confidentiality. Witness testimony is set to continue on Friday.

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