Week Three of Hush Money Trial Proceeds With Hope Hicks as Witness

The third week of Donald Trump’s hush money trial capped off last Friday with testimony from former Trump White House advisor Hope Hicks who gave the jury a behind-the-scenes peek into how candidate Trump’s inner circle responded to negative reports before the 2016 election.

Hicks, who served as the Trump campaign’s spokesperson in 2016, appeared nervous on the stand and at times grew emotional as she described the campaign’s messaging strategy when faced with scandalous news reports.

Hicks revealed that she was in her Trump Tower office in October 2016 when she received an email from reporter David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post that included a transcript of the now-infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump described in graphic terms what women would allow a celebrity to do to them.

Hicks testified that she forwarded the email to key members of the Trump campaign, including Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, and Jason Miller in which she wrote, “Deny, deny, deny.”

The prosecution also asked Hicks about the Trump campaign’s response to a subsequent report that a tabloid paid for former model Karen McDougal’s story about her alleged affair with Trump that was never published.

During testimony the previous week, former National Enquire publisher David Pecker confirmed that it was his publication that paid McDougal as part of a “catch and kill” scheme to buy the exclusive rights to her story to keep it from going public.

Hicks was also questioned about the fallout in 2018 after the news first broke that Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006.

Hicks acknowledged that she spoke to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen the day after the story broke but Cohen denied the report. The following day, she spoke to then-President Trump who told her Cohen paid Daniels to “protect him” from the “false accusation” out of “the kindness of his heart,” which Hicks added would have been “out of character” for the former Trump fixer.

During cross-examination, Hicks acknowledged that Cohen often did things that frustrated members of the Trump campaign. She said Cohen “liked to call himself … Mr. Fix-It,” but most of the time, he was fixing the things he “first broke.”