Donald Trump Trial: All the key witnesses in the New York hush-money case

Donald Trump Trial: All the key witnesses in the New York hush-money case
Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen are expected to testify in court against Donald Trump in the hush money trial (Getty Images)

Who are the 6 key witnesses in Donald Trump's hush money trial?

(Getty Images)
Donald Trump's hush money trial witness list includes Stormy Daniels and David Pecker (Getty Images)

The hush money criminal trial against Donald Trump that began on April 15, 2024, is set for opening arguments on Monday, April 22. Justice Juan Merchan completed the uphill task of selecting the impartial 12-panel jury and six alternatives to decide whether the former president is guilty of the 34 counts of criminal charges for falsifying business records to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels. Trump is the first president to go to a criminal trial. Here are six key potential witnesses, including the former president, who may testify in the trial, which is expected to last around eight weeks.

1. Stormy Daniels

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 26:  Adult film actress/director Stormy Daniels attends the 2019 Adult V
Stormy Daniels allegedly received a $130,000 hush money payment through Michael Cohen from Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, will be a key witness in the trial. She claimed that she had a sexual affair with Donald Trump in 2006, months after his youngest son Barron was born. The former president allegedly paid her $130,000 through his lawyer Michael Cohen, shortly before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about their alleged encounter. Daniel had previously filed lawsuits against the business tycoon to cancel a non-disclosure agreement signed nearly two weeks before the 2026 election and another for defaming her in 2018 through social media. She had lost both lawsuits. Trump has denied the actress' claims.

2. Karen McDougal

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 15:  Actress Karen McDougal arrives at the launch party to celebrate Di
Karen McDougal allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump in the 2000s (Getty Images)

Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, also received an indirect hush money payment from Donald Trump through David Pecker's American Media. She claimed to have received $150,000 in 2016 in return for not revealing the 10-month affair she had with the real estate mogul in the mid-2000s, according to a 2016 report by the Wall Street Journal. Pecker paid the money under a "catch and kill" approach by buying the exclusive rights to McDougal's story. Trump has denied having any relationship with the former model.

3. Michael Cohen

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13:  Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney, takes a ca
Michael Cohen allegedly made the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels (Getty Images)

Donald Trump's longtime attorney and political fixer Michael Cohen, who later turned into a vocal critic of his former client, is another potential witness in the criminal trial. He is accused of paying both Daniels and McDougal $280,000 to silence them amid Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. "Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr Trump," he said in a testimony under oath at a House hearing, according to USA Today. In 2018, Cohen admitted guilty to violating campaign finance law by paying Daniels. He faced a three-year sentence for that and other offenses and was released after serving for over a year.

4. David Pecker

David Pecker during The 50th Anniversary of Ferrari in the United States at Lever House in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic for Nadine Johnson Inc)
David Pecker will reportedly testify against Donald Trump in the hush money case (Robin Platzer/FilmMagic for Nadine Johnson Inc)

David Pecker, the former CEO of American Media and publisher of the National Enquirer, met Donald Trump and his attorney Cohen at Trump Tower in August 2015, more than a year before the former president's White House entry. The three discussed ways to stifle the sexual allegations stories about Trump by using the National Enquirer. The trio schemed for a "catch and kill" plan where the media would buy exclusive rights to the stories and never publish them. Prosecutors received details about the hush money payment to Daniels from Pecker and American Media in exchange for the former CEO's immunity and his testimony about Trump knowing about the payment.

5. Hope Hicks

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks arrives before testi
Hope Hicks has denied any involvement in the hush money payment discussions with Donald Trump (Getty Images)

Hope Hicks was Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign press secretary and later the White House communications director. According to court records, she was possibly in contact with Cohen to stop Daniels from revealing the allegations. Hicks was allegedly part of a phone call between Trump and Cohen regarding the hush money payment. However, she denied it, claiming she came to know about the scandal through reporters, as per CNN. In her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Hicks said, "Again, I had no knowledge of Stormy Daniels other than to say she was going to be mentioned in the story amongst people that were shopping stories around."

6. Donald Trump

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 11: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he leaves the courtroom during his civil fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on January 11, 2024 in New York City. Trump won't make his own closing arguments after his lawyers objected to Judge Arthur Engoron's insistence that Trump stay within the bounds of
Donald Trump reportedly has planned to testify in the hush money trial (Michael M Santiago/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has announced his intent to testify in the trial. Since defendants are not expected to take the stand, the former president's decision could lead to cross-examination from the prosecution. His potential testimony could positively impact his image among supporters. By testifying, Trump could use taking the stand as a campaign stop in his race for a second White House term. 

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