The grand jury is told to assess Trump’s role in hush money paid to an adult film star


NEW YORK — The Manhattan Attorney’s Office has convened a new grand jury to evaluate former President Donald Trump’s role in 2016 hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, which was part of a long-running investigation that previously appeared dormant for many months . Confirmed by those with knowledge of the study.

The team, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), has refocused on payments made to Daniels by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who said in federal court he gave Daniels $130,000 at Trump’s behest, to silence her about an alleged affair she was having with the then-presidential nominee years before his campaign, one of the people said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

A spokesman for Bragg’s office declined to comment. Ron Fischetti, a Trump defense attorney, also declined to comment.

The development, first reported by The New York Times, comes as Trump is seeking a third run for president and has recently held campaign rallies in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Cohen, who was recently at the Lower Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for an interview with investigators, pleaded guilty in 2018 in the US District Court in Manhattan to charges of campaign finance fraud related to the payments. Trump has denied involvement in the payout and denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels.

Previous long-standing grand juries convened by prosecutors as part of their Trump investigations have heard evidence and issued subpoenas. A panel indicted the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg in connection with a 15-year tax fraud scheme.

The company was convicted in court in December and fined $1.6 million. Weisselberg pleaded guilty to all charges in August and was sentenced to five months in prison. He faced up to 15 years in prison.

Trump Organization fined $1.6 million in tax fraud case

Bragg’s predecessor Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) launched an investigation into Trump and his business activities in 2019, initially taking an interest in the Daniels payment but apparently deciding it was not a viable avenue for prosecution. Since then, the case has focused on the tax issues and also on the company’s alleged practice of manipulating the value of Trump’s assets to obtain better credit and insurance rates while reducing the asset’s value to minimize tax liability.

Shortly after Bragg took office in 2021, two experienced prosecutors in the Trump case resigned over a disagreement with the new district attorney over how to proceed. Those prosecutors, Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, wanted to ask a grand jury to indict Trump on asset valuation crimes.

Under Bragg, the focus has returned to Daniels and the payments. His administration appears less inclined to pursue criminal proceedings over the asset valuation elements of the investigation, which would require a heavy burden of proof to reach a conviction.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has a pending $250 million lawsuit against Trump, three of his adult children, Weisselberg and the company for alleged asset valuation conduct. A trial is planned for later this year.


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