Trump's HistoricTrialContinues with Hope Hicks' Emotional Testimony

Hope Hicks testifies in Trump's trial, describing the fallout from the Access Hollywood tape and Trump's concerns about its impact on his family. The judge fines Trump $9,000 for violating a gag order and threatens jail time if he continues to attack trial participants.

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Nimrah Khatoon
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Trump's HistoricTrialContinues with Hope Hicks' Emotional Testimony

Trump's HistoricTrialContinues with Hope Hicks' Emotional Testimony

The historic criminal trial of former President Donald Trump continues in Manhattan, with his former top aide Hope Hicks taking the stand on Friday. Hicks, who served as Trump's press secretary and later White House communications director, testified about the fallout from the infamous Access Hollywood tape that rocked Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Why this matters: This trial sets a precedent for holding former heads of state accountable for their actions, and its outcome may have significant implications for the rule of law and the integrity of the political system. The case also highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in political leadership, which is crucial for maintaining public trust.

Trump faces 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records to hide hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006. The former president has denied the charges and the alleged affair.

Hicks, testifying under subpoena, described the hours after the campaign learned about the imminent release of the Access Hollywood tape as "frantic." She knew it would be a "massive story" that would dominate the news cycle. Hicks advised Trump to "deny, deny, deny" the allegations.

In an emotional moment, Hicks broke down in tears on the stand, apologizing before continuing her testimony. She revealed that Trump was concerned about the impact of the scandal on his family, particularly his wife Melania, and wanted to protect them from embarrassment.

Hicks also testified about the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, stating that Trump told her in 2018 that his then-attorney Michael Cohen made the payment on his own. However, Hicks expressed doubt about Cohen's charitable nature, saying, "I didn't know Michael to be an especially charitable person, or selfless person."

Prosecutors played a video statement Trump released on Twitter after the Access Hollywood tape surfaced, in which he apologized for his words, saying, "Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong and I apologize." The jury was also shown multiple social media posts from Trump related to the case.

Judge Juan Merchan allowed a Truth Social post by Trump that read, "If you go after me, I'm coming after you," into evidence, citing it as part of Trump's "pressure campaign" against witnesses. The judge also fined Trump $9,000 and threatened him with jail if he continues to violate a gag order barring attacks on trial participants.

The trial, which marks the first criminal prosecution of a former U.S. president, has captured the nation's attention. If convicted, the 77-year-old Trump could face probation or even prison time. Testimony resumes on Monday morning, with Judge Merchan expected to rule on additional alleged gag order violations in the coming week as this historic trial continues to unfold.

Key Takeaways

  • Hope Hicks testifies in Trump's trial, describing the fallout from the Access Hollywood tape.
  • Trump faces 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying records to hide hush money payments.
  • Hicks advised Trump to "deny, deny, deny" the allegations, and broke down in tears on the stand.
  • Prosecutors presented evidence of Trump's "pressure campaign" against witnesses, including a Truth Social post.
  • If convicted, Trump could face probation or prison time in this historic trial.