Prosecutors working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are investigating whether longtime Trump confidant Hope Hicks helped coordinate hush-money payments made to silence women who alleged to have affairs with President Donald Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reports that SDNY prosecutors “asked Ms. Hicks about her contacts with Mr. Pecker, the CEO of American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer” and also “asked at least one other witness whether Ms. Hicks had coordinated with anyone at American Media concerning a Journal article on Nov. 4, 2016—days before the election—that revealed American Media had paid $150,000 for the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story of an alleged affair with Mr. Trump.”
Former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen pleaded guilty last year to making illegal campaign contributions in the form of hush money payments to McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels. Cohen’s guilty plea directly implicated Trump in committing a felony by saying that he had made the payments “at the direction” of the president.
The Journal’s report also reveals that SDNY “has gathered more evidence than previously known in its criminal investigation” of the hush money payments and has also interviewed former Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller about what he knew about the payments.
Additionally, the Journal reveals that prosecutors are looking at “discrepancies” between the testimonies of Cohen and longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, as Cohen has told prosecutors that “Weisselberg had a deeper involvement in the hush payment to Ms. Daniels than Mr. Weisselberg had indicated.”