'Access Hollywood' tape won't be introduced as evidence at Trump's hush-money trial, judge rules

The judge sided with Trump's attorneys, who argued that the tape "contains inflammatory and unduly prejudicial evidence."
Donald Trump, Oct. 2, 2023, New York City

The 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape that features former President Donald Trump speaking about sexually grabbing women will not be entered as evidence or shown to jurors in his hush-money criminal trial in Manhattan, a judge ruled.

New York Judge Juan Merchan said Monday that prosecutors can still ask witnesses about the tape, which was released a month before the 2016 election, but he said that "it is not necessary that the tape itself be introduced into evidence or that it be played for the jury," according to The Associated Press. 

Merchan also ruled Monday that adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen could testify in the case, which is expected to begin next month.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 charges, including conspiracy and falsifying business records, in connection to his alleged involvement in hush money payments to Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal before the 2016 election.

Merchan said the "Access Hollywood" video is "relevant to the critical issues" presented in the case, including the prosecution's claims that it helps establish Trump's motive for the hush money scheme that the case focuses on.

However, Merchan agreed with Trump's attorneys, who argued that the tape "contains inflammatory and unduly prejudicial evidence that has no place at this trial about documents and accounting practice."

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.