Hope Hicks meets with NY prosecutors investigating Trump
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s former spokesperson Hope Hicks met Monday with Manhattan prosecutors who are investigating hush-money payments made on the ex-president’s behalf — the latest member of the Republican's inner circle to be questioned in the renewed probe.
Hicks and her lawyer, Robert Trout, spent several hours inside the Manhattan district attorney’s office and, afterward, were seen walking to a waiting SUV. They didn't say anything to reporters as they got into the vehicle.
Trout declined comment. The district attorney’s office also declined comment and would not confirm prosecutors interviewed Hicks served as Trump’s 2016 campaign press secretary and held various roles in his White House, including communications director.
Last week, prosecutors questioned Trump’s long-estranged former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, and Trump’s former political adviser Kellyanne Conway.
After his session last Friday, Cohen told reporters that the probe of payments to two women alleging affairs with Trump is “really progressing" and that he expects to be called soon to testify before the grand jury that's been hearing evidence since January.
“The level of specificity to which they are attacking the various issues is extraordinary," said Cohen, adding that he's met with prosecutors 18 times through several iterations of the probe.
Monday’s meeting with Manhattan prosecutors wasn't the first time that Hicks has been questioned by prosecutors investigating the president.
In 2018, federal prosecutors interviewed Hicks as part of their investigation in the waning weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.
Cohen, the only person charged in the federal probe, pleaded guilty in 2018 to various charges, including that he violated campaign finance law by arranging the payouts to porn actor Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal to keep them from going public. Trump has denied the affairs.
Last year, Hicks was interviewed by the House Jan. 6 committee, telling the panel that Trump told her that no one would care about his legacy if he lost the 2020 election. She told the committee that Trump told her, “The only thing that matters is winning.”
Hicks was also a key witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, delivering important information to the special counsel’s office about Trump’s attempts to obstruct that investigation.
As for the hush-money probe, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan decided not to prosecute Trump personally over the payments. The Manhattan district attorney’s office then began investigating the payments to see if any state laws were broken.
Conway's lawyer didn’t respond to multiple messages about her meeting last week with prosecutors, which was first reported by The New York Times.
Trump's lawyers have said that the payments to the two women broke no laws. Trump says the investigation is politically motivated.
Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press