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Hope Hicks Takes the Stand in Trump’s New York Criminal Proceedings

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, closely associated with President Donald Trump during his administration, is scheduled to testify in his ongoing criminal trial in New York. Hicks has emerged as a pivotal figure in the proceedings, where she will address her role and knowledge in the dealings between Trump and the National Enquirer’s leadership aimed at suppressing detrimental stories during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Hicks, the ninth witness to appear in Manhattan, is expected to provide insights into the alleged strategy to “catch and kill” stories that could have impacted Trump’s electoral prospects. Trump faces 34 felony charges, which suggest he falsified New York business records to hide information that could sway the election. He argues that the trial is a form of “election interference” that hampers his 2024 presidential campaign efforts due to mandatory court appearances.

Hicks began her association with Trump in 2014, initially working under Ivanka Trump at the Trump Organization, and subsequently joining his 2016 presidential campaign as press secretary. After his election, she served as director of strategic communications and later as communications director, before resigning in 2018. Hicks later joined Fox Corp. as chief communications officer and executive vice president, only to return to the White House in 2020 as an aide to Jared Kushner and counselor to Trump.

During her testimony, Hicks recounted her experiences during the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape and subsequent media inquiries about Trump’s alleged affairs with Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, both of which Trump has denied. She is anticipated to discuss the urgency of keeping these allegations under wraps and her prior employment with a firm that managed communications for American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer at that time.

Opening statements in the trial highlighted the immediate campaign response to the tape’s release and the subsequent efforts to manage fallout from other potential revelations of Trump’s infidelities. The prosecution has presented evidence, including hundreds of pages of court documents, that outline the alleged conspiracy to prevent these stories from affecting the election outcome.

The trial has also heard from eight other witnesses so far, including David Pecker, Keith Davidson, Rhona Graff, and Gary Farro, each contributing pieces of the complex narrative around Trump’s alleged efforts to influence the election through illicit means.

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