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Hope Hicks expected to testify in Trump’s hush money trial: reports

Former Trump administration aide Hope Hicks is expected to testify for the prosecution in the former president’s New York hush money trial, NBC News reported Monday.

Hicks, once one of Trump’s closest aides, was interviewed by prosecutors for the case last year. Trump faces charges that he falsified business records in attempts to cover up hush money payments made to hide a previous affair during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The case is set to go to trial April 15, the first of four criminal cases against Trump to reach the trial stage. Trump has brushed off the charges as political and pleaded not guilty.

Hicks served as Trump’s campaign press secretary before the 2016 election, when the hush money payments were made. An attorney for Hicks in 2019 said she was unaware of the payments, but investigators in the criminal case against Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen over the payments said she likely knew.

Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels via an escrow account to cover up an alleged affair between Daniels and Trump a decade before. Cohen later pleaded guilty to tax evasion and other charges related to the payments and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018.

The judge in the case, Juan Merchan, expanded a gag order levied against Trump on Monday, preventing the former president from disparaging Merchan’s family. Trump previously criticized Merchan’s daughter. The gag order previously prevented Trump from discussing witnesses and other court figures.

Hicks previously served as a witness in the House Jan. 6 investigation, and in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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