Hope Hicks' testimony could hurt Trump's 'Melania defense'

 May 7, 2024

The testimony of Hope Hicks in former President Donald Trump's Manhattan hush money trial could hurt his legal team's line of defense that the payments were made to keep the accusations from his wife Melania, not from the public because it would hurt his campaign, according to a former progressive candidate for Manhattan District Attorney.

Janos Marton told Newsweek after Hicks testified that what she said could potentially hinder Trump's "Melania defense" because she was his campaign secretary.

"For the jury, the optics of the campaign press secretary being involved at all makes it harder to claim the payoff was related to some personal matter," Marton said.

Hicks was a non-cooperating witness who said she didn't know about the payments at the time, and her testimony seemed to both bolster Trump's defense and harm it at the same time.

At odds

She testified that she didn't think Michael Cohen would have made the payments without Trump telling him to, because he was not "an especially charitable person or selfless person."

This is at odds with other testimony by Hicks that Cohen would often "go rogue" and that he liked to fix things he thought were issues, even if he made them up himself. Cohen was not even part of the campaign but was Trump's personal lawyer.

Hicks largely tried to be loyal to her former employer, it seems, and she broke down crying during cross-examination by Trump lawyer Emil Bove.

One part of her testimony that bolstered the "Melania defense" was that Trump canceled newspaper delivery when the Karen McDougal allegations broke in an attempt to keep the news from his wife.

As commenters on the article pointed out, newspapers are hardly the main way most people get news, but the testimony shows Trump was concerned about his wife's reaction to the allegations, which he maintains are false.


Of course, leftist legal experts like Marton have tried to spin each development in the trial to Trump's disadvantage, even though other reports have said the prosecution's legal reasoning is convoluted and hard to follow.

Jonathan Turley, who is no conservative, has steadily maintained that the case against Trump is weak and that the prosecution has to be politically motivated.

Turley wrote in The Hill on Saturday that the prosecution's witnesses--including Hicks--have so far "contradicted the basis for the prosecution."

In other words, whatever happened with the payments may not have had nearly as much to do with Trump and the 2016 presidential campaign as it did with keeping the news from Melania or a rogue lawyer who decided on his own to pay these women off to protect his client.

Cohen hasn't testified yet, but how much credibility can someone who has admitted lying in court have?

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