Hush money trial highlights: Former Trump senior aide Hope Hicks takes the witness stand

What to know about today’s trial

  • Former White House communications director Hope Hicks, who was involved in discussions on suppressing negative stories about Trump ahead of the 2016 election, has taken the stand.
  • Douglas Daus, a forensics expert, wrapped up testimony Friday morning after delving into what he found on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s phone.
  • Keith Davidson, the lawyer for both former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, was asked yesterday about his role in scandals involving celebrities such as Hulk Hogan, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen.
  • Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to the hush money payment to Daniels to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with him. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied a relationship with her and McDougal.
  • Here’s what you missed at the trial yesterday.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation confirms that Trump on Thursday paid the $9,000 fine.

He used cashier’s checks paying one amount of $2,000 and another of $7,000, and it was paid to the court clerk.

Judge Merchan said that further violations could result in him imposing “an incarceratory punishment,” meaning time in jail. Merchan is expected to rule on the four outstanding gag order violations next week.

Prosecution and defense discuss possibility of cross-examination on contempt

After jury left, Judge Merchan discussed with the prosecution and defense the possibility of Trump being cross-examined on the gag order violations.

Trump lawyer Todd Blanche said he objects to that but prosecutor Matthew Colangelo argued that the court found Trump in criminal contempt for violating the gag order.

Trump accuses Manhattan DA of ‘letting violent crime run rampant’

Speaking to reporters outside of the courtroom, Trump railed against the Manhattan district attorney, saying his office is “letting violent crime run rampant all over our city.”

He also accused DA Alvin Bragg of attacking his company in particular, lamenting, “what they’ve done to people in my company, they’ve been after us for years.”

He called the attorneys in the DA’s office “radical left lunatics,” and alleged that they’re backed by Democratic megadonor George Soros.

Trump added, “In the meantime, you can’t do anything in the country. The country is going to hell.”

The terms of Trump’s gag order allow him to criticize the judge and the prosecutor.

Hope Hicks testifies that Trump ‘really values’ Melania Trump’s opinion

Trump attorney Emil Bove asked Hicks what was causing Trump stress after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape.

“President Trump really values Mrs. Trump’s opinion,” Hicks said, adding while Melania Trump doesn’t weigh in all the time, when she does, it’s “really meaningful.”

“I don’t think he wanted anyone in his family to be hurt or embarrassed by anything that happened during the campaign. He wanted them to be proud of him,” Hicks later added.

Hicks has finished testifying. The court was planning to end at 3:45 p.m. today because of a scheduling conflict. The judge just dismissed the jury for the day.

The lawyers have remained to discuss disagreements on the law.

Hope Hicks on Michael Cohen: He liked to call himself Mr. Fix It

“No, he would try to insert himself at certain moments, but he wasn’t supposed to be on the campaign in any official capacity,” she said. “There were things he did in a voluntary capacity because of his interest.”

Bove also asked Hicks if Cohen went rogue and she said yes.

Hicks went on to say that Cohen liked to call himself a “fixer” or “Mr. Fix It.”

“It was only because he first broke it,” she said.

As Trump’s attorney Bove began to cross-examine Hicks, she began to cry.

Hicks looked off to the side, seeming to want to avoid letting anyone see her tears. Bove asked if the court should take a break and Hicks answered, “Yes, please.”

She appeared to start crying when Bove brought up the fact that the Trump family gave her work opportunities.

Hope Hicks said the morning after Cohen told The New York Times that he had made the payment without Trump’s knowledge, he told Hicks that Cohen made the payment to protect Trump from false allegations and never told anyone about it and did it out of the goodness of his own heart.

“I’d say that would be out of character for Michael. I did not know Michael to be an especially charitable or selfless person; he is a kind of person who seeks credit,” Hicks said.

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