Hope Hicks Could Crush Donald Trump’s Hopes of Legal Appeal

Former President Donald Trump’s bid to have his hush money conviction overturned could fail because of the role of his former aide Hope Hicks, according to legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance.

Speaking on the Cafe Insider podcast on Tuesday, Vance argued that evidence from Hicks may not be covered by a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that Trump’s lawyers argue should cause his conviction to be overturned.

Trump, who is the Republican Party’s presumptive 2024 presidential nominee, was set to be sentenced on July 11 after being convicted in May on 34 counts of falsifying business records as part of a scheme to influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and Daniels’ allegations of an extramarital sexual encounter.

Donald Trump Attends the Presidential Debate
Former U.S. President Donald Trump on June 27, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. The former president is seeking to have his conviction in Manhattan overturned.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The sentencing has been postponed until at least September after Judge Juan Merchan agreed to weigh the impact of the Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity. The ruling said that former presidents have immunity from prosecution for all official acts, but not unofficial or personal acts.

Vance discussed the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision with former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara. She suggested the government could argue that Hicks’ testimony was not covered by the Court’s ruling.

Hicks was a key witness at the trial and drew significant attention when she began crying shortly after Trump’s attorney Emil Bove began cross-examining.

Vance noted that the prosecution highlighted Hicks’ conversations with Trump during closing arguments.

Vance added that “it’ll be hard to say prosecutors didn’t ask the jury to rely on that evidence.”

“So I think the better argument for the government here is that it’s just not evidence of official acts,” Vance said. “And you know, Hope Hicks is in a really unique position because she was not a White House assistant who went to work for the president, she travelled with Donald Trump.”

“She was involved in the initial acts here where the decision was made that Stormy Daniels would be paid off,” Vance went on. “She was around for the whole Michael Cohen thing, and so I think the government has a great argument that this is just transferring pre-presidency Donald Trump—candidate Trump—into the White House.”

“I mean, when Donald Trump writes checks to pay his utilities in Trump Tower, if he does that while he’s sitting in the White House, that doesn’t make it an official act just because of where he’s sitting or who he has a conversation with or gives the check to,” she said. “So I think the prosecution has a strong argument here.”

Newsweek has reached out to the Trump team via email for comment.

Hicks started as an employee for the Trump Organization in 2014 before transitioning onto Trump’s campaign team. Hicks then served in various roles in the Trump administration including White House communications director and counselor to the president.