The office of Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney, has reportedly signaled to the legal team of former President Donald Trump that he could be looking down the barrel of criminal charges for his alleged part in payments of hush money to pornstar Stormy Daniels while the presidential election was taking place in 2016.
A report from the New York Times indicated that Trump has been given a chance to go before a grand jury and testify regarding the evidence that has been heard in the ongoing case.
“The Manhattan District Attorney’s threat to indict President Trump is simply insane,” a spokesman for Trump indicated in a release. “It’s an embarrassment to the Democrat prosecutors, and it’s an embarrassment to New York City.”
The report indicated that the offer to Trump to go and testify “almost always indicates an indictment is close” and that it would be highly “unusual” for any district attorney to give notification to a possible defendant “without ultimately seeking charges against” that person.
The criminal investigation regarding the alleged $130,000 in hush money paid from Trump to Daniels, who claims that she took part in an affair with Trump, has been carried out over the past five years. This particular case involves a payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has recently pled guilty to a number of felony charges in relation to the hush money payment, made to Daniels while the election was going on.
A representative for Daniels reached out to the staff of the National Enquirer with her story throughout the campaign, but the outlet did not seem interested in paying for the exclusive rights to it. The publisher of the publication was able to build out a deal between Daniels and Cohen.
The nexus of the issue for Trump is how his company paid Cohen for the hush payment. The payment was officially listed as legal expenses and the company made mention of a retainer agreement with Cohen. Such a retainer agreement did not actually exist and the reimbursement was not at all in relation to any legal services coming from Cohen, which ended up creating a possible misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records.
The report indicated that the prosecution team could end up being able to raise the misdemeanor to a felony if they have the power to prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”
The prosecution team made the argument that the second crime is that the $130,000 hush payment could be labeled as an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was utilized in efforts to halt a story for what they claim is the sole purpose of helping his campaign.
If Trump did end up being convicted as a result of this case, he would be facing a maximum of four years behind bars, despite the fact that prison time is not mandatory for the sentence.