Manhattan DA investigating Donald Trump's alleged ties to Stormy Daniels payments

New York, New York - The Manhattan district attorney is presenting evidence to a special grand jury about former President Donald Trump’s connections to hush money payments made to former porn star Stormy Daniels.

The Manhattan DA is looking at President Donald Trump’s connections to hush money payments made to former porn star Stormy Daniels.
The Manhattan DA is looking at President Donald Trump’s connections to hush money payments made to former porn star Stormy Daniels.  © Collage: JC Olivera / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & REUTERS

The latest development in District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prolonged probe into Trump has been confirmed to the New York Daily News by a source familiar with the investigation.

It comes weeks after Trump’s former fixer and lawyer met with Bragg’s investigators for the first time. Cohen went to federal prison for giving Daniels the money before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about allegations she had sex with Trump.

Cohen’s meeting renewed speculation Trump could still face criminal charges in New York after the DA’s investigation went quiet following another grand jury’s expiration and a set of resignations by high-level prosecutors, which fueled rumors the probe was dead in the water.

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The hush money payments have long been public knowledge. Cohen served three years in federal custody after pleading guilty in 2018 to breaking campaign finance laws when he bought Daniels’ silence about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006 for $130,000.

Cohen admitted he also paid former Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 to stay quiet about alleged liaisons with Trump in 2006 and 2007, which he said was coordinated with the National Enquirer.

The New York Times reported Monday that the tabloid’s former publisher David Pecker was seen entering the Manhattan DA’s offices.

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Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen went to federal prison for giving Stormy Daniels money before the 2016 presidential election to keep an alleged affair quiet.
Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen went to federal prison for giving Stormy Daniels money before the 2016 presidential election to keep an alleged affair quiet.  © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

The DA’s focus on the payments is the closest sign yet that Trump might still face charges stemming from the probe now running on three years. Cohen admitted in his federal case that he made the payments "in coordination with, and at the direction of" Trump, who he said reimbursed him for $420,000 doled out by his family real estate business and at least one payment straight out of his checking account.

Among prosecutors’ areas of interest are how those reimbursements were classified in the Trump Organization’s books and whether they met the threshold of falsifying business records. In his federal case, Cohen said they were designated as legal bills.

Trump has denied the affairs with Daniels and McDougal. In a statement on his social media site, he disparaged Daniels by calling her "Horseface" and wrote, "NEVER HAD AN AFFAIR." Trump said the grand jury’s impaneling was a continuation of the "Greatest Witch Hunt of All Time."

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On Tuesday, Trump again denounced the probe as "Stormy nonsense."

"It is VERY OLD & happened a long time ago," Trump said on his social media site.

When she testified at her former attorney Michael Avenatti’s trial, Daniels said Cohen had paid her on Trump’s behalf to sign statements he penned denying the alleged affair – a sexual encounter she described as "getting cornered coming out of a bathroom."

This comes on the heels of Bragg's office securing convictions for two Trump-owned entities, as well as the company’s longtime finance chief Allen Weisselberg, on tax fraud charges.

The company was fined $1.6 million earlier this month, and Weisselberg is serving a five-month sentence on Rikers.

Cover photo: Collage: JC Olivera / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & REUTERS

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