Prosecutors say Trump is likely to face criminal charges in New York
The charges are related to a sum of money Trump allegedly sent to an adult film star to keep quiet about an affair between the 2 of them
The Manhattan district attorney’s office told Donald Trump’s lawyers that the former president is likely to face criminal charges in relation to a scandal where he allegedly sent money to an adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final stretch of his 2016 campaign, The New York Times originally reported.
The news: Four anonymous sources familiar with the situation told the Times that prosecutors offered Trump the opportunity to testify next week before a grand jury.
- The Times says that Trump is unlikely to accept the offer to testify in court, but such offers usually mean that an indictment is close.
Details: Two of Trump’s defense attorneys told NBC that the former president is aware of the offer to appear before the grand jury, but the attorneys said the offer is standard and isn’t a subpoena. However, they disagree with the Times’ claim that criminal charges could be ahead.
- “For five years, the Manhattan district attorney’s office has investigated every facet of former President Trump‘s life,” said Trump attorney Susan Necheles to Fox News. “Unable to find criminality in any aspect of his finances, the Manhattan district attorney now threatens to indict former President Trump for payments made to Stormy Daniels seven years ago. For the DA’s office to charge former President Trump, a victim of extortion, with a crime because his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, a convicted liar, paid the extortionist would be unprecedented and outrageous selective prosecution.”
- If charged, this would be the first-ever indictment of a former president and could pose difficulties to Trump’s 2024 presidential nomination, per Reuters.
About the case: The New York Times states that this case “centers on a $130,000 payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The payment was made in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign by Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, who was later reimbursed by Mr. Trump from the White House.”
- Cohen, who is expected to testify in front of the jury, said that he had been long instructed to pay Daniels to keep her quiet about the alleged affair, per the Times.
Trump’s response: Trump has taken to his social media site, Truth Social, to deny the affair, according to Reuters.
- “I did absolutely nothing wrong, I never had an affair with Stormy Daniels, nor would I have wanted to have an affair with Stormy Daniels. This is a political Witch-Hunt, trying to take down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party.”
The stakes: Fox News states that while hush money isn’t illegal, prosecutors might argue that the donation to Daniels was an “improper donation to the Trump campaign, as Daniels’ NDA helped his candidacy.”