June 21, 2024
Serena Williams

Tennis superstar Serena Williams joined a growing list of celebrities dragged into Donald Trump’s so-called hush money trial after a former aide to the ex-president revealed she was on a list of names who he “frequently spoke to” in early 2017.

Madeleine Westerhout, Trump’s former executive assistant at the White House, took the stand to testify in Manhattan criminal court on Wednesday.

During her testimony, prosecutors displayed emails between the former White House aide and Rhona Graff, a longtime Trump Organization employee who testified earlier in the ongoing criminal trial.
On January 24 2017, four days after Mr Trump was inaugurated, Ms Westerhout emailed Ms Graff, asking: “Could you have the girls put together a list for me of people that he frequently spoke to? I don’t want to have to bug you all the time – even though I will still call often :)”

Ms Graff replied: “I’m working on it. Hope to have it to you in a little while.”

The Trump Organization employee then followed up in another email: “How this for a start?”

Attached was an Excel spreadsheet that detailed a list of those who Mr Trump “frequently spoke to”.

Williams, arguably the best tennis player of all time, appeared on the list, alongside other names more commonly associated with Mr Trump.

Among the other names were members of the Trump family, his former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen, and former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala on 6 May 2024 (Invision)

Media figures like Bill O’Reilly, Jeanine Pirro, Joe Scarborough, and David Pecker — the former National Enquirer publisher who testified last week about his role in the “catch and kill” scheme at the center of the case – and a few other sports figures, including Tom Brady, were mentioned as well.

The Independent has reached out to representatives for Williams for comment.

Despite occupying two totally different realms of celebrity, the pair have crossed paths before.

Mr Trump played Williams in 2015 to celebrate the opening of a tennis center at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. The tennis phenomenon reportedly let him win a point.

The testimony from the former Trump administration gatekeeper came up during the fourth week of the former president’s criminal trial in Manhattan, where he is facing 34 counts of falsifying business records related to $130,000 paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, in order to keep her quiet about an alleged 2006 affair.

Ms Daniels took the stand to testify this week, revealing details of their alleged sexual encounter. Mr Trump has denied the tryst ever took place and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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