US President Donald Trump announced the day of his court appearance in New York, after being indicted by a Manhattan grand jury following an investigation into payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels, in Beach, Florida, US, on April 4, 2023. .
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Former President Donald Trump chose to pay a porn star $130,000 in hush money by delaying this payment until after the 2016 presidential election, according to a Manhattan prosecutor pursuing the first ever criminal charge against an ex-president.
Just weeks before the 2016 contest, Trump’s then-attorney Michael Cohen went to great lengths to fire that adult movie star, Stormy Daniels, for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump years before their marriage. Trump has denied having an affair with Danielle, whose name is Stephanie Clifford.
But Trump ordered Cohen to hold off on making that payment to Daniels “as long as possible,” according to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump instructed Cohen “that if they could delay the payment before the election, they could avoid the payment altogether, which at that point doesn’t matter if the story is made public,” Bragg alleged.
Emails and messages between Trump’s attorneys and Daniels, as well as the editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, suggest Cohen “tried to make the delays as long as possible,” according to Bragg.
Trump claimed that Daniels’ payment was delayed by an instruction that after the 2016 election could be a key piece of Bragg’s case that Trump falsified business records “operating crimes” related to that campaign.
Bragg’s 13-page facts about the case, which was published on Tuesday next to the indictment against Trump. The former president pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records at his arraignment in Manhattan criminal court.
Trump eventually agreed to a payoff from Cohen, Bragg noted. Trump will go on to win the 2016 presidential race against his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Cohen was compensated by the Trump Organization in monthly payments in 2017, and those payments were marked for legal services.
The alleged plan to conceal the payments is “conspiracy to violate New York’s election law, which is the crime of conspiring to illegally promote a petition,” the DA said in a press conference this afternoon.
Bragg says that Trump’s attempt to delay the payment of Daniels also challenges an argument made last month by Trump’s current attorney, Joe Tacopina. Daniels said the salary money “doesn’t go directly to the campaign.”
Indeed, Tacopina suggested in an interview with ABC News that Trump made a solution to minimize the publication of an allegation that could embarrass both him and his family.
“He did this with private money so that nothing would come out, false, but to inconvenience himself, his family, his son, his son,” Tacopina said. “This is not a financial violation. Not by any stretch.”
Tacopina did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Bragg’s account of the events did not include the copies of the letters and texts that he brought as evidence. But the DA’s allegation aligns with a long list of accusers who have publicly stated that Trump forced them to do their work. In one report e USA today In 2016, hundreds of people accused Trump of withholding payment for services they provided.
Bragg on Tuesday also said Trump was involved in efforts to suppress ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal’s claim that she had an affair with Trump years ago. American Public Media Inc. in 2018 admitted McDougal paid $150,000 in hush money for “concerts” with the Trump campaign to prevent her from going public with the allegations before the 2016 election.
Manhattan prosecutors also said AMI paid $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman who revealed a story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock.
All three paid for alleged “catch and kill” efforts by Trump and others “to identify, buy and bury negative information about him and his election prospects,” prosecutors said.