Manhattan prosecutor presenting evidence in Trump Stormy Daniels hush money case to grand jury: report
The Manhattan district attorney is escalating his criminal investigation into former President Trump by showing a grand jury evidence about hush money paid to an adult-film star just before the 2016 presidential election, The New York Times reported.
The Times reported that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) will begin presenting the evidence on Monday and noted it as a clear sign he is nearing a decision about whether to bring criminal charges against the former president.
Bragg’s office began a criminal investigation into Trump and his businesses under Bragg’s predecessor, Cy Vance Jr., that involved the hush money payments and whether Trump’s businesses misled lenders and investors about the value of the companies’ properties.
The $130,000 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, sent days before Trump was elected, was made as part of a nondisclosure agreement over an affair Daniels alleges she had with the former president. Trump denies the affair.
Trump’s longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in 2018 to making an excessive campaign contribution and said he did so at the direction of “a candidate for federal office.”
The Times reported that the case could hinge on prosecutors showing that Trump and his company falsified records to hide the hush money payment from voters in advance of the election.
Bragg is now hoping to reconstruct the events surrounding the payment by seeking interviews with former employees at The National Enquirer, which helped broker the deal with Daniels, according to The Times.
The newspaper reported that former publisher David Pecker was seen entering the building in Manhattan where the grand jury is sitting.
Bragg spokeswoman Danielle Filson declined to comment. Elkan Abramowitz, an attorney for Pecker, and Ronald Fischetti, an attorney for Trump, did not immediately return requests for comment.
The purported escalation is one of the multiple sprawling legal inquiries involving the former president, who over the weekend made some of his first campaign stops in his bid to return to the White House.
Trump also faces probes centered on his actions in Georgia following the 2020 election, his handling of classified documents and a civil fraud lawsuit launched by New York’s attorney general.
In Bragg’s probe, two top prosecutors resigned February after Bragg reportedly decided to stop presenting evidence to an earlier special grand jury.
Bragg has since indicated the investigation is “active and ongoing,” and the decision to show evidence to the new grand jury suggests he is still considering indicting the former president.
But Bragg’s investigation has so far led to only one trial, which was focused on whether the Trump Organization aided top executives in avoiding income taxes on nonmonetary compensation.
Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to 15 charges but Trump himself was not charged.
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