Nervous Hope Hicks takes the stand—and won’t even glance at Trump

May 3, 2024

Hope HicksDonald Trump’s first political PR guru and presumed holder of all his dirty secrets—testified at the former president’s New York criminal trial on Friday, May 3—and wouldn’t even throw a glance at her former boss during her first hour on the witness stand, reports The Daily Beast.

From the moment she walked into the courtroom at 11:30 a.m., the atmosphere immediately changed, the Beast notes. The 35-year-old publicist—who normally carries herself confidently and owns the room—slowly made her way into the courtroom through a side door that’s disguised as a wall panel and uneasily made her way past the red-velvet rope that separates the battle area from the public pews. She kept her head down, with her feathered blonde hair drooping over her eyes as she gripped a black purse in her left hand.

Once she sat down, Hicks barely squeaked out an introduction. “Hi, my name is Hope Charlotte Hicks, and my last name is spelled H-I-C-K-S,” she said, apologizing for being nervous.

But after a few minutes, she began to sit up straighter and speak more firmly as she began detailing the way she entered Trump’s orbit. She recalled landing a job at the Trump Organization as its communications director and how it slowly morphed into a PR role on his 2016 presidential campaign.

According to another report by The Hill, Hicks testified that she learned about ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal on November 4, 2016, via a press inquiry from The Wall Street Journal—just four days before the presidential election.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ name came up a “year prior,” in November 2015, as Trump and his security discussed a celebrity golf tournament years earlier.

She learned about both women on one of Trump’s planes en route to a campaign stop, she said.

The Hill further reported that Hicks recalled that she learned about the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape via a request for comment from The Washington Post, which had obtained the recording.

In the tape, Trump is heard bragging about grabbing women inappropriately, seemingly without consent. In the tape, Trump says: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab ’em by the p—-. You can do anything.”

Hicks said she forwarded the reporter’s email to other campaign leadership, which included an explanation of the tape, transcript and three questions asked of the campaign. The reporter also indicated that the Post planned to publish the video two hours later.

The subject of the email: “URGENT Wash Post query.”

“I was concerned,” Hicks said of her initial reaction. “I was very concerned.”

She said she forwarded the email to Trump aides Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, David Bossie, and Jason Miller.

The first time she actually saw the tape, itself, she said she was with Trump. “Was he upset?” prosecutor Matthew Colangelo asked the former Trump advisor.

“Yes,” she said with a pause. “Yeah, he was.”

She described her reaction as “just a little stunned” and said she had a “good sense” that the story would dominate the news for at least the next “several days.”

Hicks testified that Trump believed his remarks on the tape were “pretty standard stuff for two guys chatting.”

The Daily Beast added that, at the end of Trump’s term, Hicks “[was] burned by staying so close to Trump—evident by her private remarks after witnessing how Trump’s violent rhetoric and rejection of legitimate 2020 election results brought about the insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.”

As the House of Representatives committee that investigated the January 6 riot eventually uncovered, Hicks texted Ivanka Trump’s then-chief of staff, “We all look like domestic terrorists now.”

She later added, “And all of us that didn’t have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed.”

The Daily Beast notes that prosecutors hope to use Hicks as a witness who can add crucial details about Trump’s involvement in directing hush-money payments to former “playmate” Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

Trump is currently on trial facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records over the way he paid his consigliere Michael Cohen after the since-disgraced lawyer closed these deals.

Research contact: @thedailybeast