Trump Trial Today: Ex-Aide Who Dished on His Twitter Habits Back on Stand

Steven Hirsch/Reuters
Steven Hirsch/Reuters

Donald Trump’s hush-money trial will close out its explosive third week of testimony Friday, with his former White House aide Madeleine Westerhout set to take the stand once again in the morning.

She was first called to testify Thursday after jurors heard almost two days of testimony from Stormy Daniels, the porn star who prosecutors say was paid $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 election to keep quiet about her claims of a one-night stand with Trump a decade earlier. The former president’s lawyers sought to undermine Daniels’ credibility, portraying her in sometimes heated exchanges as a liar attempting to extort money from Trump.

Trump Lawyer Tears Into Stormy Daniels’ Sudden Sainthood

Jurors heard lurid details from Daniels about her alleged tryst with Trump including specifics about condoms, sexual positions, and more during her time on the stand. At one point, Trump’s attorneys asked for a mistrial given the salacious details of her testimony, but Judge Juan Merchan rejected the request. Trump denies ever having sex with Daniels.

He has also pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors claim that the Trump Organization wrongly labeled payments to Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen as legal expenses, when they were in fact reimbursements for the hush money Cohen paid to Daniels.

Trump’s lawyers have tried to establish that the hush-money payments made on his behalf were actually intended to protect Trump’s family and personal reputation rather than his 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen, the prosecution’s key witness who has yet to testify in the proceedings, is now expected to take the witness stand on Monday, according to NBC News. He is expected to testify over the course of several days—and will likely come under intense pressure during cross-examination.

But Friday jurors will hear more from Westerhout. She was working at the Republican National Committee when the notorious Access Hollywood tape came to light just before the election, testifying Thursday about the impact the recording—in which Trump could be heard bragging about groping women—had on the RNC leadership.

She said there was so much concern that she recalled conversations taking place “about how it would be possible to replace him as the candidate, if it came to that.”

Westerhout, who went on to serve as Trump’s personal secretary in the White House and later became the director of Oval Office operations, also spoke about her work with Trump during his presidency. She described taking dictation from Trump for posts on his Twitter account, speaking about his preference for “the Oxford comma” and certain words “he liked to capitalize” like “‘country.”

But Westerhout also spoke about setting up a crucial Oval Office meeting between Cohen and Trump in February 2017. During that meeting, prosecutors claim, the pair discussed reimbursement for the Daniels hush-money payment.

Prosecutors on Thursday also confirmed they will not call Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who also claims to have been paid to keep quiet about an affair with Trump, to testify in the trial.

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