How Stormy Daniels was forced to defend herself during a lawyer’s trial
(RNS) – Stormy Daniels is unapologetic about who she is, whether she’s a former adult film star, paranormal investigator or witch. But testifying about her life with her former lawyer during cross-examination, she said, tested her confidence.
“I wasn’t on trial, but he put me on trial,” Daniels said of his former attorney, Michael Avenatti. “He challenged my beliefs. He tested my credibility and my integrity.
Daniels, a former adult film star who was once paid to remain silent about her relationship with Donald Trump, was a key prosecution witness in a federal case against Avenatti for wire fraud and identity theft after being accused of stealing $300,000 from a book. advance given to Daniels.
After the first day of the trial, January 24, Avenatti fired his attorney and represented himself for the remaining days, before facing Daniels in cross-examination. It was the first time Daniels had seen Avenatti since her firing in February 2019, she told Religion News Service in an interview.
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She felt a sense of betrayal, she said. The two had spoken almost every day during their work together, she said, and she trusted him. Upon discovering that he had stolen her, she said, “I felt stupid.”
After Avenatti was indicted in May 2019, he and his legal team made it clear that discrediting her as a witness would include attacking her spiritual beliefs and recent foray into the paranormal industry.
In a June 2021 court filing, Avenatti’s attorneys said Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, “has made a number of bizarre and fantastical claims that seriously call into question her veracity, mental state and his ability to testify competently”.
Included in these “fantastic claims” were Daniels’ practice of witchcraft and interest in the paranormal.
In November 2021, the defense team asked the court to subpoena Daniels’ mental health case to prove their claims. The court agreed, but no documents were produced. “They don’t exist,” Daniels said.
Throughout her five and a half hours on the stand over two days, Daniels was repeatedly asked about her adult film career, her new paranormal show “Spooky Babes” and even her haunted doll, Susan. She believes he wanted her to say, “It’s not real,” but the pressure “didn’t work.”
Avenatti only briefly mentioned witchcraft.
“He didn’t go as hard as I thought he would,” Daniels said. “But he definitely unmasked me.” He backed down, she thinks, because of his public Facebook posts in 2021 regarding religious freedom.
“It was not a religious trial,” she said in the interview. “I just can’t imagine it would have been allowed if I was a Christian or even some of the other major religions.”
He tried to create a “tone that I was all these negative things to distract from the facts of the case,” she said. “I held on.” After three days of jury deliberation, Avenatti was found guilty. He is expected to be sentenced in May.
“I’m a solitary practitioner,” said Daniels, who has a triple goddess tattoo on her neck and sometimes works with the goddess Lilith. She practices an intuitive form of magic, developing spells on her own rather than strictly following the books. She maintains an herb garden in the back of her home, which was once a spiritualist church, and offers oracle readings and pot spells on the internet and in person at Wicked Wednesdays Marketplace in New Orleans.
“From November 2020 to November 2021, I did 250 oracle readings,” Daniels said. At first, she admitted, people just wanted a read because she was Stormy Daniels, but that changed when people realized she was serious.
Daniels is also a professional psychic and paranormal investigator, a career she only officially launched three years ago. However, her paranormal experiences began in childhood, she said. When she was 11, she was awakened by a strange sensation and ran outside to spot a wolf in the distance. She felt an immediate calm and the animal disappeared. The wolf has since become a spiritual symbol for her.
Daniels, who did not grow up with formal religious teachings, began exploring witchcraft in high school, like many teenagers. “I was definitely into it,” she said. “I had crystals, I read all the witchcraft books, I set intentions.” After her entertainment career took off, she gave up her practices, though she still identifies as a witch, if only in secret.
Daniels was further driven from esoteric practices when, at the age of 23, she had a vision of a child’s death. The fear of having seen the event and not being able to stop it was enough to force Daniels to give up the occult practice.
“It was so traumatic for me; I closed everything.”
Daniels stayed away from all things occult and paranormal until she moved into a haunted house in New Orleans, where she experienced the same weird feeling. The stories she tells of her time in this house are something out of a horror movie, including wasted time, unusual rot, and flea infestations.
As she happily left that home, the experience renewed her interest in the paranormal and witchcraft.
Today, Daniels is a professional paranormal investigator and the co-host of “Spooky Babes,” which she said features only about 10% of her actual investigations.
“You have to treat the dead like you would treat the living,” she said of her strategy as a psychic and investigator. She also uses her knowledge of witchcraft in cleaning the house, combining it with her partner’s Catholic practices.
Although paranormal work may seem to have outgrown his career, Daniels also owns Swamp Trash Events, a Louisiana-based event organization company, and is taking a Reiki course to enable him to return to one of his passions. childhood, caring for horses.
Daniels is set to reboot her directing career in adult film, having already signed a contract for four films, and she is also chatting with a documentary filmmaker to tell her story.
“My primary goal after this lawsuit is to change the laws regarding the ability to discriminate against someone who has worked in the adult film industry before.”
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She laughed, “Like I’m not doing enough.”
The recent lawsuit has given Daniels a new perspective. It was difficult to be on the stand, she said, “but I was only a witness. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a victim of a violent crime.
“That’s why so many women don’t pursue justice or back down or speak their true beliefs,” Daniels added, and “not just women.”
“This trial has opened my eyes to how many people are suffering like this.”