Could Donald Trump soon face charges in Manhattan DA's hush-money probe?

New York, New York - Former US president Donald Trump may soon stand in a Manhattan courtroom to face criminal charges.

Former president Donald Trump has reportedly been informed that he may testify before a grand jury in a hush-money probe revived by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Former president Donald Trump has reportedly been informed that he may testify before a grand jury in a hush-money probe revived by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.  © REUTERS

Prosecutors have informed him he may testify before a grand jury, a source confirmed to the New York Daily News on Thursday – the subject of the probe believed to be the hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The invitation is typically extended when prosecutors are nearing a charging decision. The New York Times first reported the development, noting the invitation was for next week.

Lawyers consulting Trump about the Manhattan district attorney's yearslong probe and vardious investigations declined to speak on the record. One said on background that he was unlikely to take District Attorney Alvin Bragg up on the invitation. DA spokesperson Danielle Filson declined to comment.

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After landing in Florida, Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina told the Daily News that he would represent the former president in the potential criminal case, after defending him at a civil rape trial this April in a lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

"Nothing has changed. If they bring a case, it will be a grave mistake on behalf of the Manhattan district attorney's office. I mean, this case comes without precedent. It's once again the justice system being used as a weapon against Donald Trump," Tacopina said. "It's not right and it's not gonna survive."

Donald Trump could become first-ever former president to face criminal charges

Donald Trump may also be called to testify at his upcoming trial over rape allegations leveled by writer E. Jean Carroll.
Donald Trump may also be called to testify at his upcoming trial over rape allegations leveled by writer E. Jean Carroll.  © REUTERS

The potential charges would mark the first ever brought against a former president.

Sources involved in the case expect they will relate to how Trump and his business classified hush-money reimbursement checks to Michael Cohen – and concealed them to hide their political motivations. That legal approach has yet to be tested in court, according to experts interviewed by the Daily News.

Cohen, Trump's fixer-turned-enemy, went to federal prison over the payouts. In his 2018 guilty plea, he said Trump directed him to pay $130,000 to Daniels to silence her about an alleged tryst in 2006 to influence the election outcome. Cohen is expected to take the stand imminently, having met with investigators at least 20 times.

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The investigation into Trump and his business dealings, first launched by former DA Cyrus Vance, has lasted three years. Bragg recently revived it with the impaneling of a grand jury and prosecutors summoning longtime Trump aides such as Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks to his lower Manhattan offices.

Whether or not he takes the stand, a panel of New Yorkers may soon see the former president testify at his upcoming federal trial. Tacopina said Trump was "ready, willing, and able" to take the stand in the spring.

Carroll has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her inside a Midtown department store in the mid-1990s. A judge has yet to decide whether her lawyers can call two more women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct to testify.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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