Stormy Daniels, the woman at the center of the investigation into Donald Trump, was out riding one of her favorite horses when the news broke Thursday that the former president had become the first-ever former commander in chief to be indicted on criminal charges.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, wasn’t aware of the indictment for nearly two hours. She returned home to literally hundreds of messages and called her longtime lawyer Clark Brewster to ask what was up.
Her first reaction? “She was surprised, honestly, even though it was mostly expected,” Brewster told USA TODAY.
Recap:Grand jury indicts Donald Trump in New York, first time a former president is charged criminally
A few weeks ago, Daniels said she would “dance down the street” if and when Trump was indicted on hush money-related charges stemming from her alleged affair with him way back in 2006. Those allegations, and claims that Trump paid her $130,000 for her silence just days before the 2016 election, first came to light after Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the hard-fought race.
Brewster discounted that remark late Thursday as “just a comment that she may have made to try to be funny or something.”
In fact, when the significance of the charges sank in, Daniels didn’t feel like dancing at all, Brewster said.
“The fact is that she feels bad that the guy has been charged,” he said. “But on the other hand, truly, she knew what the facts were and she wants him to deal with the truth as well. So from that perspective, there’s a degree of feeling like the system is working.”
Brewster, who has been representing Daniels since 2019, added that he and Daniels both felt “it is a sad day, honestly” but that both felt vindicated by the indictment by a grand jury hearing evidence presented by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Fact check:Statement from Stormy Daniels denying an affair with Trump is from 2018
“I think obviously the grand jury looked at a lot of documents and heard a lot of testimony and made a decision, and I have to respect that,” Brewster said. “But on behalf of Stormy and honestly myself, there’s no joy in seeing the man indicted.”
“I think it’s a tragedy to see someone who has been a former president and leader of this country to be criminally charged,” he added. “But you have to respect the system and you have to respect the fact that we deal with truth and justice, and the truth is ultimately what will get him acquitted or convicted.”
“And, you know, it does prove the adage that we all believe from the time that we’re little kids that no man is above the law,” Brewster said. “It really is a testament, truly, to our constitutional system.”