Trump Trial Live News as Hope Hicks Testifies in Hush Money Case

Trump Trial Live News as Hope Hicks Testifies in Hush Money Case
Trump Trial Live News as Hope Hicks Testifies in Hush Money Case

Thank you for joining us. We’re going to wrap our coverage of the trial today. We’ll resume on Monday.

Here’s are the key takeaways from the second week of testimony in Donald Trump’s hush-money criminal trial, where the former president is accused of falsifying business records to conceal a sex scandal before the 2016 election:

  • Hope Hicks, who ran communications for Trump and became a top White House aide, described how Trump’s 2016 campaign reacted to the shock release of the so-called Access Hollywood tape just before the election. The tape caused an immediate uproar, which the government claims was the motivation for Trump to pay Daniels when she threatened to go public with her claim about an affair. “This was a crisis,” Hicks said of the tape.

  • Justice Juan Merchan fined Trump $9,000 for repeatedly violating a gag order that bars him from publicly discussing witnesses or jurors. Prosecutors sought the penalties after Trump repeatedly took to social media to attack his former lawyer and fix Michael Cohen as well as adult-film star Stormy Daniels, two of the government’s top witnesses. Trump’s lawyers argued he should be able to respond to Cohen attacking him.
  • California lawyer Keith Davidson described the genesis of the hush payments to McDougal and Daniels, who he represented before the 2016 election. He explained how he got American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, to pay McDougal $150,000, and convinced Cohen to pay Daniels $130,000. He recounted his frantic talks with Cohen and AMI’s then-CEO David Pecker. “I have a blockbuster Trump story,” Davidson said in a June 2016 text to an Enquirer editor.
  • Jurors heard a secret recording in which Trump discussed financing the $150,000 payment. The recording, made by Cohen, didn’t name names but the timing coincides with the McDougal payout arranged by Pecker, who had testified earlier in the trial about his efforts to help Trump win the election.
  • The judge has indicated the trial is running on schedule and agreed to allow Trump to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation on May 17.
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