The Testimony You Would “Hope” For? Maybe Not Completely. May 3 Trump Trial Update

5 min readMay 3, 2024

Today’s testimony was highlighted by testimony from longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks. In my view, her testimony was a mixed bag for the prosecution.

-Proceedings started today with the judge correcting Donald Trump for false statements he made yesterday claiming the gag order prevented him from testifying. The judge told Trump: “You have an absolute right to testify at trial if that’s what you decide to do after consultation with your attorneys…The order restricting extrajudicial statements does not prevent you from testifying in any way/ On fact, as the name of the order indicates, it only applies to extrajudicial statements…It does not apply to statements made from the witness stand.” Of course, the jury was not present for this admonition.

-Douglas Daus, the tech expert who forensically dowloaded Cohen’s phone data, continued testimony with cross examination from Trump’s attorneys who tried to suggest Cohen’s phone data might have been tampered with. Daus admitted that was always a concern and that to some degree they would have to take Michael Cohen’s word for it.

-On redirect prosecutors asked Daus if he saw any evidence the phone was tampered with. He answered, “I did not.”

-Note: Trump’s attorney is trying to cast doubt on the authenticity of the recording from Cohen’s phone of the two scheming to set up a shell corporation to hide hush money payments. This is another reason Trump should not testify. If Trump testifies he will be asked under oath if the recording is accurate.

-The next witness called was Georgia Longstreet, a paralegal in the Manhattan D.A.s office to testify about and introduce evidence she retrieved from the internet.

-Much of the internet evidence admitted was over hearsay objections raised by the defense.

-The first is a video of Trump apologizing for the Access Hollywood Video. Quote: “Anyone who knows me knows this doesn’t reflect who I am/ I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”

-Another admitted into evidence was a Trump Truth Social Post where he states, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you.” Prosecutors are trying to show Trump’s efforts to influence/pressure witnesses.

-In that vein, Prosecutors also presented a Truth Social Post referring to Stormy Daniels. Quote: “I did NOTHING wrong in the ‘Horseface’ case. I see she showed up in New York today trying to drum up some publicity for herself. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since I took a picture with her on a golf course, in full golf gear including a hat, close to 18 years ago.”

-The next witness up was one long awaited. Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest confidants. She previously testified to a Congressional committee that she was never present when the Daniels issue was discussed. She has since testified extensively to the grand jury and the prosecution clearly regards her an important witness. She started by telling the jury she was “really nervous.”

-Hicks stated she is testifying pursuant to a subpoena. She detailed her long relationship with Trump, but stated she has no current professional relationship with him. Says she hasn’t had contact with Trump since mid-2022.

-Hicks testifies that everybody who worked at the Trump Organization “in some sense reports to Mr. Trump. It’s a very big and successful company but it’s really run like a small family business in certain ways.

-Hicks repeatedly testified highly of Trump as a businessman, multitasker, and stated Trump “is better than anybody at communications and branding.”

-Hicks testifies she knew David Pecker before joining Trump but reconnected with Pecker because he was Trump’s friend.

-Hicks states she was present for some calls between Trump and Pecker, including one where they discussed a National Enquirer article accusing then rival Ben Carson of malpractice.

-Hicks first became aware of the Access Hollywood tape when the Washington Post sent an urgent inquiry, including a transcript, seeking comment.

-Upon seeing the transcript Trump leaned towards denying, claiming it “didn’t sound like something he would say.”

-When Hicks first heard the tape she acknowledged being “a little stunned” and knew this would be “a massive story” and “damaging development” to the campaign.

-Trump was involved in the first campaign response that read, “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.

-Hicks testified that Trump did not view the p-grabbing tape as a big deal. Trump viewed it as “pretty standard stuff for two guys chatting with each other.”

-Hicks testified that Trump, and the entire campaign was very concerned for the damage the Access Hollywood tape could have on Trump’s standing with voters, particularly women.

-Hicks became involved with the McDougal story when the WSJ emailed her asking for comment. She called David Pecker who told her McDougal was being paid for fitness columns and that it was all legitimate.

-Hicks told Trump about it and they called Pecker together, where Pecker repeated what he told Hicks. [Note: we know that wasn’t true, and Trump knew it was not true. Pecker testified that Trump and Pecker made the deal with McDougal to keep her quiet].

-Hicks was shown the November 4, 2016 WSJ story where she was quoted as saying the story of a Trump affair with McDougal was “totally untrue.”

-Hicks also told WSJ that the campaign had no knowledge of the Enquirer deal with McDougal, a denial she said came directly from Trump. Again, we know that denial is not true as Trump, Pecker and Cohen collaborated on the catch and kill deal. Hicks emphasized that she was repeating what Trump told her.

-As cross examination started Hicks teared up and the court took a brief break.

-Hicks often testified harshly about Cohen, describing him as sometimes going rogue and not charitable. She stated that his volunteering to make the Daniels payment was out of character, but probably so he could get credit for it. What will likely be a much quoted line was: “I used to say that he liked to call himself a fixer or Mr. Fix It, and it was only because he first broke it, that he was able to fix it.”

-However Hicks also testified that Trump told her he appreciated Cohen’s handling it by paying from his own money and that he was appreciative of Cohen’s loyalty.

-On cross Hicks testified that Trump didn’t want newspapers delivered to Melania when they broke stories of his alleged affairs. Defense counsel will cite this as evidence that he did want to keep this from Melania, and that it was not all about the campaign.

-Testimony ended with Hicks completing her’s. We will move on to new witnesses next week.

-After the jury was excused the judge ruled in favor of Trump’s counsel request that the prosecution be barred from asking him about his gag order violations if he testifies.




Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80