Manhattan prosecutors re-examining Trump hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, report says

Ex-president paid $130,000 to keep adult film actress from revealing his alleged affair with her before the 2016 election

Andrew Feinberg
Monday 21 November 2022 20:39 GMT
Donald Trump denies knowledge of lawyer's $130,000 payment Stormy Daniels

Prosecutors working under Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr are reportedly re-examining whether criminal charges can be brought against former president Donald Trump as a result of $130,000 payment his company made to cover up his affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

According to the New York Times, Mr Bragg’s office has recently sought to jump-start a long-dead investigation into the payments, which federal prosecutors used as evidence to prosecute Mr Trump’s ex-attorney, Michael Cohen, for campaign finance law violations.

Mr Cohen paid Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, the $130,000 to keep her from speaking out about her affair with Mr Trump in the waning days of his 2016 campaign for the presidency.

He admitted to making the payments, which Mr Trump’s eponymous real estate and licensing company repaid to him as legal expenses.

The former Trump Organization attorney told The Independent that he hasn’t heard from from Mr Bragg’s office about any renewed interest in the hush-money case.

“As of this writing, I have not personally spoken to DA. Bragg or any member of his team. The Trump-Stormy Daniels saga has been widely reported; including that my actions were done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump,” he said.

Under Mr Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr, prosecutors considered whether the Trump Organization’s payments violated New York State law by falsifying business records when they characterised the payments as legal expenses.

‘Comical and sad’: Stormy Daniels mocks Trump's post-presidency

Mr Vance later subpoenaed Mr Trump’s former accounting firm for his tax and business records and successfully fought the ex-president’s attorneys all the way to the Supreme Court. But the investigation later went cold when prosecutors instead chose to focus on how the Trump organization allegedly evaded taxes by paying excessive fringe benefits to executives.

Prosecutors also considered charging Mr Trump with a violation of state election law but never pursued such a strategy because the presidential election was for a federal office.

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