Trump Sexual Assault Accusers Find Unlikely Heroine in Stormy Daniels: 'She's Got a Lot of Guts'
Each morning when Natasha Stoynoff gets on her computer, the first thing she Googles is Stormy Daniels, the porn star currently in a sizzling feud with Donald Trump related to her alleged sexual affair with him — an alleged affair Trump’s attorney paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about just days before the presidential election.
“Let’s just say that all week I’ve been envisioning her as TIME’s ‘Person of the Year’ come December,” says Stoynoff, now a best-selling author, who was attacked by Trump during a 2005 interview for PEOPLE.
“I’m cheering her on!” Stoynoff told PEOPLE in an interview last month. “She’s got a lot of guts and like many women, I trust she’s had enough of his lies. Here’s hoping she puts an end to them once and for all for the sake of country.”
Stoynoff is one of the 19 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, their stories vehemently denied by Trump and disbelieved by his supporters. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and the White House have also denied allegations of an affair between Trump and Daniels.
Many, like Stoynoff, came forward after a leaked audio tape revealed Trump boasting about kissing women without their permission and grabbing them “by the pussy” — and then he denied during a presidential debate that he’d ever actually done things like that.
Daniels’ attorney has told reporters that other women are now considering legal action against Trump, following the porn star’s lead. (Former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos previously sued Trump early last year for defamation. The case is ongoing.)
Daniels, defying what she calls a “hush agreement” with Trump, taped an interview with 60 Minutes that aired on March 26. She then appeared on The View Tuesday, where she released a sketch of a man she claims threatened her in 2011 to keep quiet about the alleged affair.
After Trump called the sketch a “total con job” on Twitter, Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told PEOPLE “the president is clearly panicked and he should be. Because I believe that he knows the noose is tightening.”
Asked if he planned to file a defamation lawsuit, the lawyer replied: “That’s something we are certainly exploring.”
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The adult film star with her determination to tell her story is proving, at least for some accusers, their latest best hope of proving Trump a liar when it comes to what he’s done to women.
Although Trump’s accusers acknowledge that their experiences with the then-businessman differ from Daniels’ — theirs involved unwanted sexual advances, hers was an alleged consensual affair followed by compensation in exchange for staying quiet about it — they note that her story adds validity to their accounts.
WATCH: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Assault
“I am sure she is telling the truth, I think she is brave to do it and the more women who come forward the better,” says a woman who has accused Trump of grabbing her and giving her an unwanted kiss. She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of threats she received after going public.
“Although that affair with Stormy was consensual, it was tawdry because he was married and had an infant and because she is a porn star,” the woman says. “I am grateful she’s trying to talk because it shows what type of man he is, for the proof of it.”
While some of Trump’s accusers are grateful that Daniels’ unfolding legal drama, including her attempt to crowdfund her legal fees, has been grabbing daily headlines, Jessica Leeds is less sanguine.
“His supporters don’t care,” notes Leeds, who says Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt while sitting next to him on an airplane in the early ’80s.
“They knew all along and accepted the fact. I don’t think it will change anyone’s opinion, even if she wins her suit.”
But the women who spoke to PEOPLE all feel a bond with other Trump accusers. Leeds has met a few, and while Stoynoff hasn’t spoken to or met any of them yet, she would like to one day.
When asked if she ever thought she’d be rooting for a porn star, the accuser who asked for anonymity laughed as she said, “No, no.”
“I think I have more respect for her than for our president,” she says. “I never thought I’d be rooting for a porn star, I think it’s a more honest way to make a living than what he’s doing.”
Stoynoff, too, is a full-fledged fan of Daniels. “She seems very smart, strong, and sassy — the kind of dame who can put a lying man, especially whats-his-name, in his place,” she says. “From what I’ve seen so far, I like her.”