Lessons learned from day 11 of President Trump’s New York hush money trial with Hope Hicks | Donald Trump News

Donald Trump’s former adviser Hope Hicks tearfully confessed her nervousness as she appeared on the witness stand in New York City, where she was called to testify in the former US president’s criminal hush money trial.

Friday marks the 11th day of the trial, and Hicks is perhaps the most high-profile witness to testify so far.

Hicks, a former model turned communications director, was one of Trump’s longest-serving aides and helped him navigate the scandal at the heart of the New York criminal case during the 2016 presidential campaign.

President Trump has been charged with 34 felonies for falsifying business records from his 2016 campaign in connection with hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump, and prosecutors say Trump tried to buy her silence as a way to influence the election. He had already come under intense scrutiny in 2016 for comments made on a leaked tape about his interactions with women.

President Trump denies having an affair and insists he did nothing wrong. His lawyers argue that Trump simply wanted to avoid embarrassing his family and that he had no intention of interfering in the election.

The New York trial is one of four criminal cases President Trump faces as he seeks re-election this November. Here are five takeaways from Friday’s hearing.

Former President Donald Trump poses with White House communications director Hope Hicks in 2018. [File: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]

Yes, Trump is allowed to testify

The day’s courtroom drama began even before Mr. Trump entered the courtroom, as the former president attempted to retract statements he made the night before.

On Thursday, President Trump falsely told reporters he was “not authorized to testify.”

“This judge is completely inconsistent and has imposed an unconstitutional gag order on me,” Trump continued. “Nobody’s ever experienced anything like that before. And we don’t like it.”

But in court Friday, Trump sought to clarify his earlier statements. “The gag order is not about giving testimony. The gag order prevents me from talking about people or reacting when they say something about me.”

But Thursday’s comments were a top priority for Judge Juan Melchan, who sits on the court.

“An order restricting extrajudicial speech does not preclude testimony in any way,” Marchand said Friday.

A man on a horse holds an American flag outside a Manhattan criminal courthouse.
Qui Griffin, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, rode a horse out of court on the 11th day of his trial. [Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo]

District Attorney’s Office Witness Testifies

As testimony continued, the first two witnesses of the day spoke about technical aspects of the case.

Returning from Thursday was Douglas Dauss, a forensic analyst with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He previously shared evidence, including secret recordings from the cellphone of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Emile Bove, Trump’s lawyer, tried to get Daus to admit that there were “deficiencies in the way he handled this data.” He pointed out that the events in question occurred in 2016 and that Daus received a call to investigate in 2023.

Next, another witness from the district attorney’s office, paralegal Georgia Longstreet, took the stand. She spoke about evidence she gleaned from Trump’s social media accounts, including a 2016 post in which he complained about the level of support he received from female voters.

Donald Trump sits at the defense table in court and leans toward his lawyer.
Former President Donald Trump (center) speaks with his lawyer in court. [Mark Peterson/Pool via AP Photo]

Hope Hicks takes the stand

The third and most anticipated witness of the day was Hicks, a former member of Trump’s inner circle.

Hicks worked for Trump’s daughter Ivanka before being tapped as press secretary for Trump’s 2016 presidential bid at the age of 26.

Prosecutors subpoenaed her to testify about the inner workings of the campaign and the Trump Organization.

Hicks testified that she thought President Trump’s appointment of her as press secretary “might be a joke.” But she explained that while on the campaign trail with her then-candidate, she was soon planning to travel to states such as Iowa.

She explained that Trump is deeply involved in the campaign’s day-to-day media strategy.

“I would say Mr. Trump is responsible,” she said of his power over the press. “He knew what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it, so we all just followed his instructions.”

Courtroom sketch of Hope Hicks wiping her eyes with a tissue.
In this courtroom sketch, Hope Hicks dabs her eyes while being cross-examined by defense attorney Emile Beauvais. [Jane Rosenberg/Reuters]

Hicks looks back at the Access Hollywood tapes

But much of her testimony revolved around an audio recording known as the Access Hollywood tape, which captured President Trump bragging about “grabbing” women’s genitals.

Hicks explained that she first became aware of the recordings when a Washington Post reporter emailed them to her.

“I was very worried,” she said, testifying that she encouraged the Trump campaign to “deny, deny, deny.”

The tape was released in October 2016, one month before that year’s presidential election. Hicks later said Trump was concerned about how his wife, Melania Trump, would react.

“I don’t think he wanted anyone in his family to be hurt or embarrassed by what happened on the campaign trail,” she told the court.

Ms. Hicks also spoke about how she learned of Mr. Trump’s alleged affair with Mr. Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

She said Daniels briefly came up in conversation at a celebrity golf tournament.

She also explained that the Wall Street Journal contacted her in November 2016 about President Trump’s alleged extramarital affair and an alleged “catch-and-kill” plot orchestrated to suppress media coverage.

“He was worried about how his wife would see the article, and he asked me not to have the newspaper delivered to his house that morning,” Hicks said.

At one point, she left the courtroom in tears, forcing the court to suspend the session.

Courtroom sketch of Donald Trump looking up at Hope Hicks on the witness stand.
Former President Donald Trump reportedly listened intently to his former aide Hope Hicks on the witness stand. [Jane Rosenberg/Reuters]

President Trump pays gag order fine

Friday was the deadline for President Trump to pay a $9,000 fine for nine gag order violations following a ruling earlier in the week.

However, the former president waived the fine Thursday and was in possession of two cashier’s checks, one for $2,000 and the other for $7,000.

But the problem didn’t end there. As court proceedings drew to a close on Friday before the weekend adjournment, prosecutors petitioned a judge for authority to question President Trump about violating the gag order.

The order prohibits President Trump from making any comments about jurors, witnesses, court officials or others involved in the trial that could affect court proceedings.

However, Judge Marchand rejected the prosecution’s request, saying it could unfairly prejudice the jury.

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