DA Bragg Presents Evidence to Grand Jury in Trump Hush Money Case

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office, led by DA Alvin Bragg, has begun presenting evidence to a grand jury in connection with Donald Trump's possible role in paying a hush-money settlement to Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign.[0] David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer who was heavily involved in the arrangement, was seen on Monday entering the Manhattan building where the grand jury is meeting accompanied by his lawyer.[1] Prosecutors are also seeking to interview Dylan Howard, the tabloid's editor at the time, and Keith Davidson, Daniels’s former lawyer.[2]

The case is focused on the $130,000 that ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid to Daniels over her allegations ahead of the 2016 election that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen for.[3] Cohen later pleaded guilty to a series of charges including tax evasion and bank fraud, and said he was directed to make the payment by Trump himself and that he was later reimbursed.[4]

The grand jury was recently impaneled and the beginning of witness testimony represents a clear signal that the district attorney is nearing a decision about whether to charge Trump.[5] To convict Trump, prosecutors would have to prove that he falsified documents in order to hide the payouts during the election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory.[6] The case is based on the statement of Michael Cohen, who was formerly Trump's fixer and made the payment and pleaded guilty to federal charges linked to the hush money in 2018.[5]

Investigations concerning Donald Trump's involvement in Georgia post-2020 election, the treatment of confidential information, and a civil fraud case initiated by New York's chief legal officer are all underway.[6] The district attorney in Georgia may try to press charges against him for attempting to reverse his 2020 election loss in the state, and he is under a special counsel inquiry concerning his removal of confidential documents from the White House as well as his behavior during the siege of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.[5]

Prosecutors have also been contacting several people who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, and have subpoenaed phone records and other documents that might shed light on the episode.[5] In December, the Trump Organization was found guilty of tax evasion for assisting executives in avoiding taxes on expensive luxuries, including Manhattan apartments and luxury cars.[7] Trump himself was not being held accountable; however, the company was fined $1.[7]

0. “Trump Legal Danger Grows With Grand Jury Probe of Porn Star Hush Money” Bloomberg, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-30/trump-role-in-hush-money-payments-to-be-probed-by-grand-jury

1. “Grand Jury to hear evidence on Trump’s porn star payoff scheme, laying groundwork to criminal charges” The Independent, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-stormy-daniels-grand-jury-b2272185.html

2. “A grand jury is hearing evidence against Donald Trump in Stormy Daniels hush-money case” Business Insider India, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.in/international/news/a-grand-jury-is-hearing-evidence-against-donald-trump-in-stormy-daniels-hush-money-case/articleshow/97462156.cms

3. “Trump denies sex with ‘Stormy “Horseface” Daniels' and slams ‘radical' Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg” Daily Mail, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11693337/Donald-Trump-Stormy-Daniels-hush-money-Manhattan-grand-jury.html

4. “Trump Could Be Charged Over Stormy Daniels Hush Money” New York Magazine, 30 Jan. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/01/trump-could-be-charged-over-stormy-daniels-hush-money.html

5. “Manhattan Prosecutors Will Begin Presenting Trump Case to Grand Jury” Yahoo News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/manhattan-prosecutors-begin-presenting-trump-185904164.html

6. “Manhattan prosecutor presenting evidence in Trump Stormy Daniels hush money case to grand jury: report” msnNOW, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/manhattan-prosecutor-presenting-evidence-in-trump-stormy-daniels-hush-money-case-to-grand-jury-report/ar-AA16UTr6

7. “New York DA revives investigation into Trump’s hush money payments to Stormy Daniels” The Guardian US, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/30/donald-trump-hush-money-grand-jury-new-york