Hope Hicks starts talking in Trump's hush money case: report

The former Trump aide is one of several witnesses who have met with prosecutors in regard to the potential case

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published March 7, 2023 4:30PM (EST)

Hope Hicks (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)
Hope Hicks (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

Hope Hicks, a former spokesperson for Donald Trump, met with Manhattan prosecutors Monday as part of an ongoing investigation into hush money payments purportedly made by the ex-president to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress.

Both Hick's lawyer, Robert Trout, and the district attorney's office declined to comment, per the Associated Press. But the New York Times reported that Hicks is the seventh in a line of witnesses to meet with prosecutors since district attorney Alvin Bragg heard evidence relevant to the case before a grand jury in January. The potential case mounting against Trump concerns his efforts in keeping payments to Daniels, whom he is alleged to have had an affair with in 2006, clandestine. Trump could face minor criminal charges for attempting to cover up the hush money.

Hicks previously served as press secretary to the former president during his 2016 campaign, a time during which she was in conversation with Trump as part of an attempt to quell news of his supposed affair. 

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In the final stretch of the 2016 campaign, Michael D. Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, wired a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Though Cohen affirmed in a 2018 statement to The New York Times that "Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford," it is assumed that the money was paid at Trump's behest. 

"Neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly," Mr. Cohen added. "The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone." The Times reported that Hicks spoke with Cohen on the day he sent Daniels the funds.

Cohen met with the Manhattan district attorney last month as part of the grand jury's probe. "It's now the 15th time that I'm heading in to discuss this and several matters with the DA's team and I am looking forward to it," Cohen said of the meeting on his podcast Political Beatdown. 

Kellyanne Conway, another trusted Trump campaign aid, also met with prosecutors last week. Cohen singled out Conway's crucial role in the fund transferral in his 2020 memoir, writing that he phoned Conway after Trump didn't take his call — "obviously a very bad sign, in hindsight" — and she "said she'd pass along the good news."

Bragg's inquiry runs in tandem with a separate criminal investigation being led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is scrutinizing Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 Presidential election in Georgia. 

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Alan Bragg Donald Trump Fani Willis Hope Hicks Michael D. Cohen Stormy Daniels