Hope Hicks, once considered one of Donald Trump’s closest confidantes and most trusted aides, is expected to be called to testify at his criminal trial related to hush money payments, according to a source familiar with the case.

While nothing is final until the trial, which is scheduled to begin later this month, gets underway, Hicks is one of several witnesses from the former president’s orbit who are expected to take the stand. Besides his former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen, others from Trump’s inner circle around the 2016 election, including those who worked on his presidential campaign, will likely be on the prosecution’s witness list.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment. Hicks did not respond to a request for comment.

As CNN reported previously, Hicks appeared before the grand jury last year before Trump was indicted, as did Kellyanne Conway. Hicks was Trump’s press secretary during the campaign and could shed light on what was happening inside the political operation in the final weeks before the 2016 election, as Cohen was paying off adult film star Stormy Daniels to remain quiet about an alleged affair that Trump worried could upend his presidential campaign. Trump reimbursed Cohen after he took office and has since been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records. The former president has pleaded not guilty and denied the affair.

Federal search warrants released in 2019 showed that prosecutors with the US attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York found there was a mad scramble inside the Trump campaign to suppress additional allegations of a sexual nature from becoming public after the “Access Hollywood” tape was released in the fall of 2016.

At the time, Hicks called Cohen and Trump joined, according to the documents. From there Cohen, acting as a middleman, was involved in at least 10 telephone calls that day, some involving Trump and Hicks and others involving American Media Inc. executives David Pecker and Dylan Howard. AMI owns the National Enquirer tabloid.

Those conversations, FBI officials believed, were apparently about Daniels, an adult film actress also known as Stephanie Clifford, according to the documents.

When Hicks testified before the House Judiciary Committee shortly before the documents’ release, she answered “no” when asked multiple times by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee whether she was ever present when Trump and Cohen discussed Stormy Daniels, according to a transcript released of the closed-door interview.

Hicks also said she had no information about Daniels other than what she learned from reporters.

“Again, I had no knowledge of Stormy Daniels other than to say she was going to be mentioned in the story amongst people that were shopping stories around,” Hicks testified. “There were no specifics offered by the reporter, and I didn’t have any other information other than what was being relayed to me by the reporter.”

Confirmation that Hicks is expected to be on the witness list comes as the judge overseeing the trial expanded a gag order Monday to include family members of the court and the Manhattan district attorney, after the former president leveled comments against the judge’s daughter in recent days.

“The average observer, must now, after hearing defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” Judge Juan Merchan wrote. “Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself.”

This story has been updated with additional reporting.


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