Trump’s New York Trial: Where Page Six Meets ‘12 Angry Men’

Of every question asked during the trial of former President Donald J. Trump, few have so precisely reflected the proceeding’s universe as the one a defense lawyer asked a witness, Keith Davidson, in early May:

“Do you know who Tila Tequila is?”

Mr. Davidson, a Los Angeles lawyer with a niche specialty of extracting financial settlements from celebrities, certainly did: A men’s magazine model and reality television star who was fleetingly MTV famous in the early 2000s, Tila Tequila had once appeared in a sex tape that Mr. Davidson tried to profit from before he came to prominence representing Stormy Daniels, the porn star at the center of the first prosecution of a former American president.

Tila Tequila, Ms. Daniels and Mr. Trump are all members of a cast of media-world operators, A-list celebrities and also-rans whose names have popped up in four weeks of testimony that has been equal parts Page Six and “12 Angry Men.”

The stakes in the case are momentous, but the backdrop has been pure pulp, complete with accusations of adultery and extortion, covert deals and surreptitiously recorded phone calls, meetings at the White House and sex in a Lake Tahoe, Nev., hotel suite.

Hollywood — and “Access Hollywood” — have been discussed repeatedly, as has Mr. Trump’s onetime reality hit “The Apprentice.” Ms. Daniels has said he dangled a role on the show to entice her to have sex with him in 2006. (He denies the sex, which Ms. Daniels nonetheless described on the stand in PG-13 detail.)

Movies as varied as the animated “Up” — which features an excitable dog, apparently not unlike Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer and current prosecution witness — and the Fox News drama “Bombshell” have been mentioned. Ms. Daniels, prosecutors said, cited that film as prompting her to remember new details of her night with Mr. Trump.

The trial is not televised, but anchors and commentators have trekked to Lower Manhattan in a quest for content.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times
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