Hope Hicks breaks down as she testifies about Michael Cohen at Trump hush cash trial | EUROtoday

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A chief aide who gave voice to Donald Trump’s chaotic 2016 marketing campaign for the presidency broke down in tears on the witness stand in his hush cash trial, moments after she testified about funds to an grownup movie star whose allegations threatened to derail his marketing campaign.

The emotional second from Hope Hicks inside a Manhattan legal court docket on Friday adopted revealing testimony about her injury management within the weeks earlier than Election Day, and her behind-the-scenes public relations efforts to salvage Mr Trump’s marketing campaign whereas tales about his alleged affairs and vulgar feedback about ladies had been piling up.

Ms Hicks – the primary main determine inside Mr Trump’s orbit to testify within the trial, which concluded its second week of testimony on Friday – turned her face away from the court docket and dabbed her eyes with a tissue as she started to cry. Microphones on the witness stand picked up the sounds of quiet sobs.

Moments earlier, she mentioned that Mr Trump had informed her that his former lawyer Michael Cohen “felt like it was his job to protect him.”

Cohen wired Stormy Daniels $130,000 weeks earlier than Election Day in 2016, and a collection of reimbursement funds from Mr Trump within the months that adopted at the moment are on the middle of a legal case in opposition to the previous president.

Mr Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying enterprise information for allegedly protecting up these funds as “legal expenses” in an effort to spice up his possibilities of profitable the election. He has denied the affairs and pleaded not responsible.

“He did it in the kindness of his own heart and he didn’t tell anyone about it,” she mentioned, recalling what Mr Trump informed her in 2018 about Cohen’s funds.

A courtroom sketch captures Hope Hicks isssuing a tissue to dab her eyes throughout Donald Trump’s legal trial in Manhattan on 3 May. (REUTERS)

Asked by the prosecution whether or not she believed that Mr Trump’s description of Cohen was in line with what she knew about him, she mentioned: “I’d say that would be out of character for Michael.”

“I didn’t know Michael to be an especially charitable person, or a selfless person,” she mentioned. “The kind of person who seeks credit.”

Defense lawyer Emil Bove was solely moments right into a benign collection of questions on her work historical past earlier than she broke down. New York Justice Juan Merchan requested if she wanted a break.

“Yes, please,” she mentioned.

Mr Bove’s line of questions stood in stark distinction to his rapid-fire and sometimes aggressive strategy to different prosecution witnesses.

To Ms Hicks, he spoke slowly, with a low and smooth voice, trying to tug out of her a way that issues in Mr Trump’s enterprise and marketing campaign had been secure, that injury management over damaging tales are a part of the job, and that Mr Trump finally cared about his household – an echo of the portrait of the previous president as a consummate household man launched in opening statements.

Ms Hicks additionally modified up how she spoke about him: “President Trump.”

A courtroom sketch depicts Hope Hicks testifying throughout Donald Trump’s legal trial earlier than New York Justice Juan Merchan on 3 May. (REUTERS)

Ms Hicks, who has not had spoken to Mr Trump since 2022, was a former communications director of the Trump Organization who went on to work for his marketing campaign after which the White House.

She left the administration in 2018 and returned in 2020.

Days earlier than a presidential debate, and fewer than one month earlier than Election Day in 2016, a recording of Mr Trump bragging about grabbing ladies’s genitals despatched shockwaves by means of his marketing campaign, in line with testimony from Ms Hicks.

She mentioned that the discharge of the Access Hollywood tape was a “damaging development” that threatened to derail the marketing campaign in a busy and demanding interval earlier than the election.

She was “stunned,” she mentioned from the witness stand on Friday.

“It’s hard to describe,” Ms Hicks mentioned. “It was definitely concerning. And I had a good sense that this was going to be a massive story and sort of dominate the news cycle for the next several days, at least … It was a damaging development.”

The story was “kind of pulling us backwards, and it was going to be difficult to overcome,” she mentioned.

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks, pictured in 2018, testified in his hush cash trial on 3 May. (REUTERS)

Manhattan prosecutors have argued that the tape’s launch fuelled Mr Trump’s makes an attempt to bury some other politically compromising tales involving allegations of his affairs, finally resulting in an pressing deal to purchase the rights to allegations from Ms Daniels, who claimed to have had intercourse with Mr Trump a decade earlier.

That deal was finalised simply weeks earlier than Election Day.

Ms Hicks, who was working as a press secretary for Mr Trump’s marketing campaign on the time, was in her workplace on the 14th flooring of Trump Tower in New York when she acquired an e-mail from a reporter from The Washington Post asking for remark concerning the contents of the Access Hollywood tape.

She forwarded the e-mail to marketing campaign officers Jason Miller, David Bossie, Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.

“FLAGGING,” she wrote. “1. Need to hear the tape to be sure 2. Deny, deny, deny”.

“It’s a reflex,” she mentioned with fun on Friday. “I was obviously a little shocked and had not realized that the entirety of the transcript was in the email.”

That tape, recorded in 2005, captured Mr Trump saying that he “moved” on a feminine TV character “like a b****”.

“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them,” he says on the tape. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

The media response “was intense” and “dominated coverage for I would say 36 hours leading up to the debate” that weekend, Ms Hicks mentioned.

“At the time I got the email … we were anticipating a Category 4 hurricane making landfall somewhere on the east coast,” she mentioned. “And I don’t think anyone remembers where that hurricane made landfall.”

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo repeated that testimony again to her.

“The Access Hollywood tape pushed the hurricane off the news?” he mentioned.

Donald Trump and Hope Hicks are pictured at a marketing campaign rally in 2016. (Getty Images)

Mr Trump misplaced endorsements and different Republican officers started themselves from him after the tape’s launch, Ms Hicks testified.

The marketing campaign, in the meantime, produced statements calling the tape “locker room talk,” whereas Mr Trump at his rallies he known as brewing allegations in opposition to him “horrible lies” and “fabrications, and we can’t let them change the most important election of our lives.”

Four days earlier than Election Day, The Wall Street Journal revealed particulars of a scheme organized with Cohen, Mr Trump and former National Enquirer writer David Pecker to purchase the rights to allegations from former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had an affair with Mr Trump.

Those allegations had been by no means revealed and the story was buried for the worth of $150,000, paid by Mr Pecker months earlier, in line with information proven in court docket.

Mr Trump adamantly denied the affair in his conversations with Ms Hicks, she mentioned on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal article quotes her as saying “we have no knowledge of any of this” and that any declare of an affair was “totally untrue.”

“I don’t remember him verbatim saying that but that was the consensus of the conversations we were all having,” she testified.

Mr Pecker beforehand testified that Mr Trump and Cohen had been intimately concerned in efforts to bury the story, and a recording performed to jurors earlier this week revealed Mr Trump asking about “financing” the scheme.

Donald Trump speaks to reporters inside a legal courthouse in Manhattan on 3 May. (POOL/AFP by way of Getty Images)

That story additionally talked about allegations involving Ms Daniels,

“He was concerned about the story,” Ms Hicks mentioned about Mr Trump’s response.

“He was concerned how it would be viewed by his wife, and he wanted me to make sure that the newspapers weren’t delivered to their residence that morning,” she mentioned.

Under questioning from the protection, Ms Hicks mentioned that Mr Trump “really values Ms Trump’s opinion.”

“She doesn’t weigh in all the time but when she does it’s really meaningful to him and he really respects what she has to say,” she mentioned.

“[Mr Trump] didn’t want anyone in his family to be hurt or embarrassed,” she mentioned. “He wanted them to be proud of him.”