Trump's Ex-Aide Testifies in Hush Money Trial, Revealing Details of HisMarriage

Madeleine Westerhout, a former Trump assistant, testified in the hush money trial, describing Trump's involvement in the scheme and his close relationship with Melania. Westerhout's testimony revealed Trump's scrutiny of checks and his upset over the Stormy Daniels scandal's potential impact on his family.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Trump's Ex-Aide Testifies in Hush Money Trial, Revealing Details of HisMarriage

Trump's Ex-Aide Testifies in Hush Money Trial, Revealing Details of HisMarriage

Madeleine Westerhout, a former assistant to Donald J. Trump, took the stand on Thursday in the former president's hush money trial, offering a rare glimpse into his marriage with Melania Trump. Westerhout's testimony could prove damaging to Trump's defense, as it suggests he was closely involved in the scheme to reimburse his former fixer, Michael Cohen, for the hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Why this matters: This trial has significant implications for Trump's potential legal liability and could influence the public's perception of his character. The outcome may also set a precedent for future cases involving political figures and hush money payments.

Westerhout testified that Trump would closely scrutinize checks he signed while president and would call Trump Organization employees if he had questions about them. However, under cross-examination by Trump's attorney, Susan Necheles, Westerhout acknowledged that Trump would sometimes sign checks without reviewing them while juggling other tasks.

The former aide also shed light on the check signing process, revealing that Rebecca Manochio, a junior Trump Organization bookkeeper, would send checks Trump needed to sign to his longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller, at his home, rather than to the White House. Necheles attempted to portray this arrangement as routine during her questioning.

During cross-examination, Necheles delved into Trump's family life, specifically his relationship with Melania. Westerhout described the couple as being very close, stating that Melania "wears the pants" in their relationship, implying a strong and respectful partnership.

Westerhout also testified that Trump was deeply upset about the Stormy Daniels story and its potential impact on his family. "In my understanding, he knew it would be hurtful to his family," she said when asked about Trump's reaction to the scandal.

The former aide further described Trump's busy schedule, noting that he would sign a "tremendous amount" of documents daily, sometimes without reviewing them, while on the phone or in meetings. Necheles seized on this point, attempting to portray Trump as a distracted multitasker who signed documents without paying attention, bolstering the defense's argument.

The hushmoney trial, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, is unfolding in New York City. Westerhout's testimony on Thursday, with cross-examination continuing into Friday, marks a significant development in the case against the former president. As the trial progresses, the public can expect further revelations about Trump's personal life and his alleged involvement in the hush money scheme.