Donald Trump Indicted In Stormy Daniels Hush-Money Case

A New York grand jury today indicted Donald Trump on charges related to hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign, according to multiple media outlets. It’s a development that the former president has seized upon to rally his supporters against prosecutors.

The news has been confirmed by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News and others.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, led by DA Alvin Bragg, has not made an official announcement, which might have to do with the office finalizing details of Trump’s surrender to authorities, which is expected to occur in the next several days, according to a law enforcement source.

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Trump, who rose to national fame as the longtime host of NBC’s reality hit The Apprentice, is the first former president to face a criminal charge and arrest. Read an overview of the case from the Manhattan DA’s office from April 2022 below.

The charges stem from a $130,000 hush money payment that Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels just weeks before the 2016 election. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, which she alleges took place in 2006.

Trump was expected to be accused of reimbursing Cohen for the payment and then falsifying business records — a way to evade election law. Cohen, who went to prison after pleading guilty to an array of charges including those related to the payments, has testified before a grand jury. But federal prosecutors also examined the payment and did not press charges.

“I believe that Donald, right now, is petrified,” Cohen said in an MSNBC interview today. “This is one of his biggest fears.”

The case may be only the first that is being waged against him. Wall Street Journal and CNN are reporting that Manhattan prosecutors also are looking into a different hush-money scheme that predates the 2016 campaign involving Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who said the National Enquirer tried to buy her story about an alleged affair with Trump in a “catch and kill” ploy to keep the story from coming out.

Also, prosecutors in Fulton County, GA, are weighing charges for Trump’s role in trying to overturn the 2020 election results in that state. Special Counsel Jack Smith also has been investigating Trump and whether he faces criminal liability for his role in the siege of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Smith also is looking into Trump’s handling of classified information that was found at Mar-a-Lago last summer.

Trump wrote on Truth Social, his social media platform, earlier this month that he expected to be arrested, btu that has not happened yet. He also lashed out at Bragg, while urging protests against what he characterized as a politically motivated prosecution.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed Trump up, vowing to launch investigations of whether federal funds were involved in the prosecution. Some of Trump’s potential 2024 rivals also have criticized Bragg, but Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who is viewed as his strongest competition for the nomination, needled the former president over it.

“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” DeSantis said last week. He also said that he had “no interest” in taking part in a “manufactured circus,” suggesting that he would not interfere if Florida authorities were enlisted in the case because of Trump’s residency there.

Here is an overview of the case that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office published a year ago:

In recent weeks, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been repeatedly asked whether our investigation concerning former President Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, and its leadership is continuing. 

It is.

There have also been questions about the timing of the grand jury. As anyone who has worked on criminal cases in New York knows, New York County has grand juries sitting all the time. 

There is no magic at all to any previously reported dates. 

The team working on this investigation is comprised of dedicated, experienced career prosecutors. They are going through documents, interviewing witnesses, and exploring evidence not previously explored. In the long and proud tradition of white-collar prosecutions at the Manhattan D.A.’s Office, we are investigating thoroughly and following the facts without fear or favor. 

The team is led by Susan Hoffinger, Chief of the Investigation Division. Susan has decades of experience as an Assistant District Attorney and a defense attorney, including New York State grand jury and trial experience, which are crucial for this investigation.

High-profile, complex investigations have been trademarks of my professional career. 

As a state prosecutor and a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, I successfully brought cases involving money laundering, witness tampering, mortgage fraud, official misconduct, and bribery. And, I went wherever the facts took me, prosecuting two mayors, a city council member, an FBI agent, a former Senate Majority Leader, a District Attorney, and business executives. 

Indeed, litigation involving the former president himself is not foreign to me. As the Chief Deputy at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, I oversaw the successful litigation against the former president, his family, and the Trump Foundation.

These experiences shape my approach and the investigative steps that the team is hard at work on. Prosecutors fulfilling their duties cannot and do not bring only cases that are “slam dunks.” To the contrary, every case must be brought for the right reason – namely that justice demands it. That’s what I’ve done throughout my career, regardless of how easy or tough a case might be.

I understand the public desire to know more about our investigative steps. But, the law requires secrecy during an investigation. It is a felony in New York for a prosecutor to disclose grand jury matters. And for good reason. 

Doing so can create problems for cases and investigations, the individuals involved, and the criminal justice system. It can affect witness testimony or even lead to witness tampering. Unauthorized public disclosures also potentially can affect a defendant’s right to a fair trial.  

While the law constrains me from commenting further at this time, I pledge that the Office will publicly state the conclusion of our investigation – whether we conclude our work without bringing charges, or move forward with an indictment. 

In the meantime, we will not be discussing our investigative steps. Nor will we be discussing grand jury matters.

In short, as we have previously said, the investigation continues.

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