Image of Stormy Daniels in mushroom dress is altered

An image spreading online purports to show porn star Stormy Daniels wearing a mushroom-patterned dress to the criminal trial of Donald Trump, who stands accused of falsifying business records to buy her silence over a past sexual encounter. But the picture is altered; the fungi -- a reference to salacious details the adult film actress revealed about the former US president in her book -- were edited onto a 2018 photo.

"Stormy shows up to court in the PERFECT dress !" says an April 22, 2024 post sharing the picture on Facebook.

Screenshot from Facebook taken April 25, 2024

Similar posts circulated across platforms -- including Threads, X, TikTok and Reddit -- as opening arguments kicked off April 22 in the state of New York for the first-ever criminal trial of a former president.

Prosecutors allege Trump falsified business records to pay off Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in exchange for her silence over a 2006 sexual encounter that could have derailed his 2016 presidential bid.

The "hush money" case is one of several legal woes facing Trump as he eyes a return to the White House in November's election.

Daniels wrote in her 2018 book "Full Disclosure" that Trump's penis resembled a mushroom, an unflattering description that provided fodder for late-night comedians while reportedly infuriating Trump.

While Daniels is expected to appear as a witness at the New York trial, she had not yet done so as of April 25, 2024 -- and the image of her shared online is doctored.

"I keep seeing this stupid dress photo. And although it is funny, it is not real," Daniels said in an April 24 post on X (archived here).

"This is a photoshopped photo from my 2018 appearance on The View. It is scary how gullible a lot of people are because I'm not in NYC and haven't been to court yet. I've been directing a TV show in a completely different time zone."

Daniels appeared on the ABC talk show April 17, 2018, telling the hosts she was "done being bullied" with legal threats from then-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen (archived here).

Footage from the episode shows she wore the same blue dress -- but with no mushrooms.

The image of Daniels in the fungi-filled dress is watermarked to an X user with the handle "@geargodd," who suggested in a reply to another account that the watermark was "a clue" it was altered.

Reverse image searches surfaced the original version of the photo on the celebrity news website Page Six, where it is credited to New York City photographer Elder Ordonez and Splash News (archived here).

Ordonez posted a similar photo of Daniels's arrival at ABC's studio to Instagram on April 17, 2018 (archived here).

Screenshot from Page Six taken April 25, 2024
Screenshot from Instagram taken April 25, 2024

Other photos also show the dress without mushrooms (archived here and here).

AFP has debunked other misinformation about Daniels and Trump's trial here, here and here.

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