Updated May 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Hope Hicks testifies in Trump hush money trial

 Hope Hicks attends President Trumps cabinet meeting in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Hope Hicks attends former President Trump's cabinet meeting in the East Room on May 19, 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hope Hicks, a former top aide in the Trump White House, testified Friday that former President Trump told her to deny adult film actress Stormy Daniels' allegations that they had a sexual relationship.

Why it matters: During her at times emotional testimony, Hicks described the panic in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign after revelations of an "Access Hollywood" tape, in which Trump is heard boasting about groping women.

  • Prosecutors seek to use Hicks' testimony to show that after the tape, Trump tried to quash stories about inappropriate behavior with women, leading to the hush money payment to Daniels.
  • Trump, facing 34 felony counts in his New York criminal trial, has denied wrongdoing in the case.

Driving the news: "I was concerned, very concerned," Hicks, who served as White House communications director, testified Friday. She described the mood after she first learned of the tape.

  • "I had a good sense to believe this was going to be a massive story and that it was going to dominate the news cycle for the next several days," Hicks testified, per the Associated Press.
  • "This was a damaging development."

Zoom in: Hicks said that she received an email from the Washington Post about a month before the 2016 election asking for comment on the video and a transcript of Trump's remarks.

  • "I was concerned about the contents of the email. I was concerned about the lack of time to respond. I was concerned that we had a transcript not a tape. There was a lot at play," Hicks said, per ABC.
  • When asked whether she was concerned about whether the video would hurt Trump's standing with women voters, she said she was not immediately concerned, but "certainly, eventually, that was something that was raised," per CNN.
  • Hicks also testified that Trump told her that his fixer, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels "out of the goodness of his heart." Hicks said this did not correspond with her understanding of Cohen's character.

Daniels is the third witness to take the stand on Friday.

Go deeper: Who has testified and who hasn't

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the latest testimony.

Axios' April Rubin contributed reporting.

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