Former President Donald Trump has been indicted as part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s years-long investigation, possibly for hush money payments.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been investigating Trump for hush money payments made leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
These include the $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and the $150,000 payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, Fox News Digital has learned.
Hush money payments made to both McDougal and Daniels were revealed and reported in 2018. Those payments had been investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York and by the Federal Election Commission.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the Stormy Daniels payment in 2019, even as Cohen implicated him as part of his plea deal. The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021.
Bragg, when he took over as district attorney in January 2022, stopped pursuing charges against Trump and suspended the investigation “indefinitely,” according to one of the top prosecutors who resigned from the office in protest.
Prosecutors Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, who had been leading the investigation under former DA Cyrus Vance, submitted their resignations after Bragg began raising doubts about pursuing a case against Trump.
Trump, earlier this month, cited reports, which were based on what he called “illegal leaks,” that suggested he could be arrested on Tuesday, March 21. Trump posted about those reports on his TRUTH Social, leading the House Judiciary Committee to intervene, demanding Bragg testify before the panel.
Republican lawmakers and allies of Trump blasted the investigation as a political prosecution and a “weaponization” of the office of the district attorney.
Bragg, last week, claimed that Trump “created a false expectation” that his arrest was imminent, citing the former president’s TRUTH Social post, and slammed the committee for making an “unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”
“The Letter only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene,” Bragg wrote in a letter to the committee. “Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.”
Last week, Robert Costello, a former legal advisor to Michael Cohen, testified before the grand jury last Monday that Cohen was a “serial liar,” and testified that Trump did not know about the payments made by Cohen to Daniels.
Bragg then canceled grand jury proceedings related to the Trump probe on Wednesday and Thursday. Sources, at the time, said there was “major dissension” within the district attorney’s office.
One source claimed the district attorney is having trouble convincing the grand jury on potential charges due to the “weakness” of the case.
Cohen, in 2018, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges, including tax evasion, lying to Congress, and campaign-finance violations. Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging payments to Daniels and McDougal to prevent them from going public with alleged affairs with Trump, which Trump has repeatedly denied.
Cohen has said Trump directed the payments—which the former president has denied for years.
Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 through his own company and was later reimbursed by Trump’s company, which logged the payments as “legal expenses.” McDougal received $150,000 through the publisher of the supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer.
The Trump Organization “grossed up” Cohen’s reimbursement for Daniels’ payment for “tax purposes,” according to federal prosecutors who filed the 2018 criminal charges against Cohen for the payments.
Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing with regard to the payments made Daniels and McDougal, and has repeatedly said the payments were “not a campaign violation,” but rather a “simple private transaction.”
The payments to Daniels were first revealed in January 2018 in a Wall Street Journal report that said Cohen and Daniels’ lawyer negotiated a nondisclosure agreement to prevent her from publicly discussing the supposed sexual encounter with Trump.
At the time, though, Cohen, Trump, and even Stormy Daniels denied the arrangement.
In January 2018, Cohen said the alleged encounter between Daniels and Trump was a rumor that had circulated “since 2011.”
And in a letter dated Jan. 10, 2018, obtained and reviewed by Fox News, Daniels also denied the allegations.
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