Trump trial full coverage: Hope Hicks cries as Trump's lawyers begin cross-examination

Prosecutors called the former White House communications director as their next witness.

A courtroom sketch shows Hope Hicks testifying in Trump's hush money trial
A courtroom sketch shows Hope Hicks testifying in Trump's hush money trial on Friday. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)
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Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director once considered to be a confidante to Donald Trump, was called to testify on Friday in Trump's historic hush money trial.

Her testimony was notable in that it bolstered the prosecution's case that Trump's team went to great lengths to bury negative stories during the 2016 election.

When a defense attorney started to ask Hicks about her time working at the Trump Organization, she started to cry, prompting a brief break in the courtroom.

Earlier on Friday, two other witnesses — Doug Daus, a digital forensic specialist with the Manhattan district attorney's office who analyzed former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen's cellphone, and Georgia Longstreet, a paralegal with the D.A.'s office assigned to monitor Trump's social media accounts — both testified.

Trump is facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal the $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who is among the witnesses expected to testify in the trial.

  • What happened today

    Hope Hicks, a former top aide to former U.S. President Donald Trump, reacts while being cross examined by defense lawyer Emil Bove during Trump's criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 3, 2024 in this courtroom sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
    Hicks, as seen in a courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

    The most gripping testimony on Friday came from former Trump aide Hope Hicks. She recounted her experience as Trump's communications director during the 2016 presidential campaign, including her efforts to minimize the damage caused by negative stories about Trump.

    • Hicks testified about an email she sent to campaign staffers regarding the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump boasted about being able to sexually assault women. “Deny, deny, deny," Hicks wrote in regards to questions of the tape's veracity.

    • She also recounted telling the Wall Street Journal that it was "absolutely, unequivocally" untrue that Trump had sex with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. She made that statement at Trump's direction, she told the jury.

    • But Hicks also portrayed former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump, as a "rogue" employee. “He liked to call himself a fixer, or Mr. Fix-it, and it was only because he first broke it.”

    • As Trump's lawyers began their cross-examination of Hicks, she began crying, leading Judge Juan Merchan to dismiss the jury and call for a short break.

    Read more from Yahoo News.

  • What Trump said as he left the courthouse

     Donald Trump talks to reporters, alongside attorney Todd Blanche, right.
    Donald Trump talks to reporters after court sessions ended for the week. (Doug Mills/Pool via AFP via Getty Images)

    Speaking to reporters after leaving the courtroom at his hush money trial on Friday, Trump said he was not allowed to comment on any of the day's proceedings.

    "As you know, I am under a gag order," he said before launching into a brief monologue railing against the ongoing criminal cases against him.

    "It's a terrible, terrible thing happening in our country," he added. "And hopefully Nov. 5 — the most important day in the history of our country, in my opinion, that's called Election Day — hopefully it's going to change., because these people are destroying our country."

  • Hicks's testimony concludes and court is adjourned

    Trump watches as a video of his statement responding to the
    Trump watches as a video of his statement responding to the "Access Hollywood" tape is played for the jury on Friday in this courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

    The defense concluded its cross-examination of Hope Hicks, and the prosecution had no further questions.

    After briefly consulting with attorneys from both sides, Judge Merchan informed the jury that court was adjourned until Monday.

  • Hicks testifies that Cohen tried to 'insert himself' into Trump's campaign

    Under cross-examination, Hicks testified that Michael Cohen tried to "insert himself" into Trump's 2016 campaign.

    Hicks, who served as the campaign's spokeswoman, said that Cohen "wasn’t supposed to be on the campaign in any official capacity" and wasn't looped in on day-to-day strategy.

    Instead, he would often go "rogue," she said.

    "He liked to call himself a fixer, or Mr. Fix It," she added, according to CNN. "And it was only because he first broke it that he was able to then fix it."

  • Cross-examination continues after Hicks returns to the stand

    The New York Times described Hicks as "still looking fairly upset" as she returned from the break. Bove picked up his cross-examination, beginning with questions about Hicks's relationships with the Trump family and her first job at the Trump Organization.

  • Hicks starts to cry as cross-examination begins

    When Trump attorney Emil Bove began to ask Hicks about her time at the Trump Organization, she started to cry.

    Bove asked for a break and Judge Merchan agreed and stepped out. Hicks and the prosecutors also exited.

  • Hicks says Trump told her to deny Stormy Daniels allegations

    REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
    Hope Hicks testifies. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

    Back on the stand, Hope Hicks was asked if Trump told her what to say in the statement she gave to the Wall Street Journal in November 2016 for a story about Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.

    In the article, Hicks is quoted "unequivocally" denying that Trump had a relationship with Daniels.

    Hicks confirmed on the stand that Trump told her to say that.

  • Listen to the audio recording of Trump and Michael Cohen discussing the hush money payment to McDougal

    On Thursday, the jury heard a 2016 audio recording made secretly by Trump's former lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen of Trump discussing the hush money deals they made with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was about to go public with a story of her alleged affair with Trump. On the tape, Cohen can be heard telling Trump, “I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” in reference to then-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, who paid McDougal $150,000 as part of an arrangement to bury negative stories about Trump during the 2016 campaign.

    The court released the audio of the recording on Thursday evening.

  • Court is back in session

    After a 75-minute lunch break, the trial has resumed, with Hope Hicks returning to the witness stand.

  • Lunch break

    Court is in recess for lunch and will resume at approximately 2:15 p.m. ET.

  • Hicks recalls when she 1st heard about Karen McDougal, Stormy Daniels

    Hope Hicks testified that she first heard of Karen McDougal on Nov. 4, 2016, when Michael Rothfeld at the Wall Street Journal reached out. She said she forwarded Rothfeld's email to Jared Kushner because of his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Wall Street Journal.

    Hicks said she had heard of Stormy Daniels once before Rothfeld's email. She said that in 2015 she overheard security on Trump's plane telling a story about a celebrity golf tournament and that Daniels's name was mentioned.

  • Why the jurors won't see the 'Access Hollywood' tape

    Before the trial, Judge Juan Merchan denied a request by the prosecution to enter the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape into evidence, saying it would be prejudicial to do so. Merchan did, however, allow for discussion of the tape, which is why prosecutors are now asking Hope Hicks about it.

  • Hicks revisits the 'Access Hollywood' tape

    Hope Hicks, now being questioned about the "Access Hollywood" tape, recalls the email she received from then-Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold on Oct. 7, 2016.

    "I was concerned. I was concerned about the contents of the email," she said. "I was concerned about the lack of time to respond. I was concerned we had a transcript without a tape. There was a lot at play."

    Hicks added that she forwarded the email, which was shown to the jury, to campaign leadership, including Jason Miller, David Bossie, Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. The New York Times reported that in her email forward she says, "Need to hear the tape to be sure" and "Deny, deny, deny."

    📸 Big picture: The Washington Post article made the "Access Hollywood" story public. It was damaging to Trump's campaign and influenced Trump's decision to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000.

  • Trump called National Enquirer hit pieces on Ted Cruz, Ben Carson 'Pulitzer-worthy'

    Hope Hicks detailed Trump's praises of David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer. Pecker was the first witness called by the prosecution.

    The National Enquirer had run stories on Trump's GOP competitors Dr. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. Hicks claimed that Trump had called Pecker to congratulate him on the "great reporting" and said, "This is Pulitzer-worthy," the New York Times reported.

  • Hicks praises Trump as a 'very hard worker'

    Trump and Hope Hicks smile, posing.
    Trump and Hope Hicks at the White House in 2018. (Mandel Nban/AFP via Getty Images)

    During her testimony for the prosecution, Hope Hicks spoke highly of Trump, describing her former boss as a “very good multitasker” and “a very hard worker” who had his hands in just about everything, particularly at the Trump Organization, before he became president.

    “Everybody that works there in some sense reports to Mr. Trump,” she testified, per the Associated Press. “It’s a big successful company, but it’s really run like a small family business in some ways.”

    Hicks also said that as his campaign secretary, she would “absolutely” check with him before issuing statements to the press.

  • Trump pays $9,000 fine for violating gag order

    Earlier this week, the former president was ordered to pay $9,000 by Judge Merchan for violating a gag order that prevents him from attacking witnesses and court staff.

    The Associated Press reported that Trump paid the fine on Thursday, a day before Friday's deadline.

    According to the news service, Trump’s legal team "supplied the court clerk’s office with two cashier’s checks, one in the amount of $2,000 and one for $7,000."

    Merchan has yet to rule on four additional alleged violations of the gag order. He heard arguments from both sides Thursday.

  • Trump is alert while Hicks testifies

    Reporters in the courtroom keep mentioning how alert Trump is and how his “eyes are glued" to Hicks as she testifies. CNN noted that Hicks seems to be avoiding making eye contact with him.

    Following observations from reporters that Trump appears to be falling asleep during the trial, the former president posted on Truth Social yesterday that he doesn't fall asleep in court but rather, "I simply close my beautiful blue eyes, sometimes, listen intensely, and take it ALL in!!!"

  • Hope Hicks takes the stand: 'I'm really nervous'

    Moments after being called to the witness stand, Hope Hicks admitted that she was "really nervous."

    Hicks is testifying under a subpoena and is paying for her attorney. According to reporters at the courthouse, Hicks said she has not spoken to Trump since 2022 and confirmed they currently have no professional relationship.

  • Prosecution calls Hope Hicks as its next witness

    Hicks is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.
    Hicks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Prosecutors have called Hope Hicks, Trump's longtime former aide and ex-communications director, as its next witness.

    Hicks served as Trump’s 2016 campaign press secretary and according prosecutors spoke with Trump by phone about his efforts to shield the public from stories of his alleged extramarital in the weeks leading up to the election.

    She held various titles in the Trump White House, including communications director, before stepping down in 2018.

  • Trump's response to the infamous 'Access Hollywood' tape played for the jury

    After a brief recess, the trial resumed with the prosecution playing for the jury a tweeted video of Trump's response to the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which he bragged about grabbing women's genitalia.

    "Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am," Trump said in the video. "I was wrong, and I apologize."

    Just before the break, the defense agreed to a "stipulation" to allow a Washington Post article about the tape to be introduced without the need to call a witness.

  • Court is on a brief break

    Judge Juan Merchan has called for a short recess. When court resumes, Georgia Longstreet, the DA's office paralegal assigned to monitor Trump's social media accounts, will be back on the witness stand.

  • Paralegal testifies she's spent last year and a half monitoring Trump's social posts

    Georgia Longstreet, the paralegal, has spent the last year and a half compiling public information on Trump. She said she checks 25 to 30 Instagram, X, Facebook, LinkedIn and Truth Social accounts every day and has reviewed an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 posts.

    Longstreet explained how she's saved certain posts — an estimated 1,500 — using the app Snagit, a screen capturing and recording software. She also used the Wayback Machine, a digital archive that allows users to see updated or since-deleted web pages.

    Prosecutors are expected to introduce some of Trump's social media posts, so Longstreet's testimony is set up to explain social media basics.

  • Prosecution calls its next witness

    The prosecution has called its next witness: Georgia Longstreet, a paralegal at the Manhattan district attorney’s office. She is being questioned by prosecutor Rebecca Mangold.

  • Defense concludes its cross-examination of Daus

    Defense attorney Emil Bove spent much of his cross-examination of Doug Daus — the digital forensic specialist with the Manhattan district attorney's office who analyzed Michael Cohen's cellphone — focused on what sounded like dry details about phone backups, syncs and factory settings.

    Prosecutors are now back with another round of questions for him.

  • Testimony resumes

    Daus is seen on the witness stand in Manhattan criminal court on Thursday in this courtroom sketch.
    Daus in Manhattan criminal court on Thursday. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

    Doug Daus, who processes digital evidence at the Manhattan district attorney's office, is back on the witness stand. He is being cross-examined by Emil Bove, one of Trump's defense lawyers.

  • Court is back in session

    The trial resumed Friday with Judge Juan Merchan clarifying that the gag order he imposed on Trump before the trial began does not prevent him from testifying in his own defense, should he choose to do so.

    Speaking to reporters outside court Thursday, the former president falsely claimed that he could not testify because of the gag order.

    The “does not prohibit you from taking the stand” or limit what he can say, Merchan told Trump.

  • What Trump said when he arrived at court

    Donald Trump gestures as he speaks to the press after arriving at Manhattan Criminal Court.
    Trump speaks to the press as he arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday. (Charly Triballeau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

    Speaking to reporters after arriving at the courthouse, Trump did what he has done nearly every day of the trial so far: rail against the judge, prosecutors and the criminal case against him while complaining that having to be in court is preventing him from campaigning.

    Trump also accused Judge Juan Merchan of allowing in the "salacious" details of his efforts to cover up his alleged extramarital affairs, part of what he said was an effort to "hurt Trump."

    "He wants to make it as salacious as possible," Trump said.

  • What to expect in court today

    • Testimony in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial resumes at 9:30 a.m. ET.

    • Doug Daus, who processes digital evidence at the Manhattan DA's office, is expected back on the witness stand for more cross-examination by the defense.

    • Hope Hicks, Trump's former communications director, could be called as a witness by the prosecution as soon as today, the Washington Post reports.

    • Hicks is "expected to be pressed on her knowledge of a deal between the National Enquirer and Trump allies to bury unflattering stories about him during the 2016 campaign," the Post notes.

    • Court proceedings are expected to conclude at 3:45 p.m. ET.