April 18, 2024

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Hope Hicks, the former close aide to Donald Trump, is expected to testify in the former president’s upcoming New York criminal trial related to hush-money payments to former porn actress Stormy Daniels.

NBC News, citing an unnamed source, reported earlier Monday that Hicks was expected to be a witness for the prosecution. ABC News also reported that Hicks was expected to take the stand.

Her attorney, Robert Trout, declined comment. A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hicks was a spokesperson for the Trump Organization in 2015 when, at the start of Trump’s bid for the presidency, she served as his campaign press secretary. She later served as communications director in the White House, then left to join Fox Corp. as chief communications officer, before returning to the administration as counselor to the president.

Last year, Hicks met with prosecutors in advance of charges being filed against Trump. He has pleaded not guilty to charges related to falsifying business records, in connection to the payments that were made to Daniels in advance of the 2016 election. Another key witness in the case is expected to be Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and so-called “fixer.” Hicks’ attorney has previously denied that she was involved in the conversations about the payments.

Trump’s trial is scheduled to start April 15.

Prosecutors in the case also have asked the judge in the case, Juan Merchan, to clarify the scope of his gag order on Trump. Last week, Merchan issued a gag order that restricts what Trump can say about prosecutors other than Bragg, as well as about courtroom staff and their family members. Trump has continued to attack Merchan’s daughter.

“This issue is not complicated. Family members of trial participants must be strictly off-limits,” prosecutors wrote. “Defendant’s insistence to the contrary bespeaks a dangerous sense of entitlement to instigate fear and even physical harm to the loved ones of those he sees in the courtroom. This Court should immediately make clear that defendant is prohibited from making or directing others to make public statements about family members of the Court, the District Attorney, and all other individuals mentioned in the Order.”

Trump has attacked Merchan’s daughter, Loren, a Democratic political consultant, in an effort to make the case that the judge is biased against him. Trump called her a “rabid Trump hater” and also posted a news story with photos of her on his social media platform, Truth Social. Trump has pointed to X/Twitter social media posts attributed to her, even though a court spokesman said that it was a “manipulation of an account she long ago abandoned.”

Trump’s attorneys wrote in response, “President Trump’s campaign advocacy on issues that bear on his candidacy, as well as the appearance of impropriety associated with these proceedings that warrants recusal, is not a basis for violating the First and Sixth Amendments yet again by expanding the gag order.”

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