Trump response to sex tryst allegations key focus as hush money trial resumes

NEW YORK — A bid by Donald Trump’s lawyers to show he was concerned about how his family would take the news of the Stormy Daniels sex tryst allegations fizzled Friday as testimony in the ex-president’s hush money trial resumed.

Former top White House aide Madeleine Westerhout, who famously lost her job after saying she had a better relationship with Trump than his daughters, testified that she couldn’t recall Trump mentioning his wife or kids at all in a conversation after the news broke.

Prosecutors are attempting to prove that Trump wanted Daniels’ story killed not for concern of his family — but over how news of the Tahoe dalliance would affect his political prospects.

Westerhout, who gushed on the stand yesterday about her former boss, did initially say that she understood Trump was worried about his family when the Stormy Daniels allegations broke as she returned to court Friday morning.

But after initially telling Trump lawyer Susan Necheles she believed Trump was worried for his family, Westerhout noted that she couldn’t actually recall him mentioning his wife or kids at all.

“I don’t believe he specifically said that, but I could just tell the whole situation was very unpleasant,” she said to a sustained objection. Her comment was stricken.

Trump, 77, has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges alleging he covered up reimbursement to Michael Cohen for paying porn star Stormy Daniels into silence 11 days before the 2016 election by logging it internally as payment for legal fees.

Prosecutors say the payoff was hastily arranged as the Trump campaign sought to contain the fallout of the damning “Access Hollywood” tape and concluded a yearslong conspiracy to unlawfully promote Trump’s candidacy by suppressing negative information from voters.

Trump’s defense has claimed that Cohen went rogue in paying off Daniels and that he believed he’d paid him for legitimate legal services.

Trump v. Cohen

Laying the groundwork for Cohen’s expected testimony next week, prosecutors used Trump’s own words to show how his feelings about his longtime fixer changed amid revelations about the hush money scheme.

In a series of tweets from during his presidency after the feds began probing his fixer’s payoff to Daniels. Trump came to the defense — and then bashed — his fixer-turned-foe. Cohen pleaded guilty to orchestrating the hush money payments to the porn star in 2018.

The tweets directly addressed the hush money payments. They were read aloud to the jury by witness Georgia Longstreet, a paralegal for the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

“The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman … are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip,’” Trump wrote in one tweet posted just weeks after the FBI raided Cohen’s office in April 2018.

The following month, Trump wrote: “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.”

But Trump turned by the following August after Cohen’s surprise guilty plea to campaign finance violations and other crimes.

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” he wrote in August of the same year.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg was in the courtroom for part of Friday’s proceedings.

Gushing about Trump

Westerhout, to this point one of the prosecution’s most favorable witnesses to Trump, took her seat on Friday morning with a smile in Trump’s direction.

Westerhout, who was Trump’s presidential executive assistant and director of Oval Office operations, first took the stand late Thursday, speaking glowingly of the presumptive Republican nominee, addressing him as “sir” from the stand, and shedding light on the inner workings of the Trump White House.

She told jurors Trump liked speaking in person or the phone — as early as 6 a.m. and late into the night — preferred hard copy documents over digital, and used a dining room table as his office to keep the Resolute desk “really pristine.”

Westerhout said the notoriously email-averse Trump didn’t use a computer but was very particular about his online presence and Twitter posts.

“It’s my understanding that he liked to use the Oxford comma,” she told the court.

Westerhout said she was never formally trained after her January 2017 hiring so closely observed Trump aides, including Hope Hicks, John McEntee, Dan Scavino, and Keith Schiller, to learn.

Westerhout, 34, broke down into tears Thursday, relaying details of her firing after telling reporters she had a better relationship with the former president than his daughters and said they were overweight.

“I was invited by a White House colleague of mine to what I understood to be an off-the-record dinner. And at that dinner I said some things that I should not have said,” Westerhout testified.

“That mistake, eventually — ultimately, cost me my job. And I am very regretful of my youthful indiscretion. But I feel like I’ve learned a lot from that experience. I think I’ve grown a lot since then.”

After her firing, she wrote a memoir, “Off the Record; My Dream Job at the White House; How I Lost It and What I Learned,” which Westerhout told the court she wrote as “it was really important to share with the American people the man that I got to know.”

“I don’t think he’s treated fairly, and I wanted to tell that story,” a distraught Westerhout said.