Trump attorney says ‘he won’t be participating’ in Manhattan DA’s probe
Former President Trump is officially declining to offer testimony in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe into the hush-money payment to adult performer Stormy Daniels made before the 2016 election.
“He won’t be participating in that proceeding — a proceeding that we and most election law experts believe is with absolutely no legal merit,” Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina wrote in a letter sent on Monday to New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber.
Tacopina had told ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos earlier in the day that the Manhattan DA’s probe is “outrageous,” saying that the October 2016 payment to Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006, was not “directly related” to the presidential campaign.
The Trump lawyer had confirmed on Thursday that Bragg had offered the former president an opportunity to testify before a grand jury, an indication that the district attorney could be nearing a decision on charges in the investigation, which would represent the first criminal indictment of a former U.S. president.
The probe centers around a $130,000 payment that Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, made to Daniels. Cohen says that Trump later reimbursed him in monthly installments and erroneously recorded them as a legal retainer fee.
Cohen later pleaded guilty to multiple charges, served a year in prison and has since been cooperating with prosecutors, including appearing before Bragg’s grand jury on Monday.
Tacopina told Stephanopoulos on Monday, “I expect justice to prevail, and if that’s the case, George, there shouldn’t be an indictment.”
“This case is outrageous, really,” he added. “There should be a healthy dose of disgust from the bar, the legal community, prosecutors, defense lawyers alike. It’s not what we do. This is not what we do. We are distorting laws to bag President Trump.”
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