Trump May Finally Be Indicted Over Stormy Daniels Hush Money Payment
Former President Trump has been offered the opportunity to testify before a Manhattan grand jury regarding his 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, a sign that sources tell the New York Times indicates an indictment against Trump is likely.
The investigation previously resulted in the conviction of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on charges of campaign finance violations and tax fraud. Cohen admitted to prosecutors that, on Trump’s orders, he had paid off two women who had affairs with the former president in order to avoid a potential scandal in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Manhattan’s District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced in November of 2022 that the years-long investigation into the $130,000 payment to Daniels would be shifting its focus to its original protagonist: Trump himself. The investigation honed on allegations that the payment given to Daniels was a violation of election and business record laws.
Trump responded in a lengthy statement released via Truth Social. “I did absolutely nothing wrong,” he wrote. “I never had an affair with Stormy Daniels, nor would I have wanted to have an affair with Stormy Daniels.” The former president accused investigators of conducting a “witch hunt” aimed at crippling his 2024 campaign.
“I am guilty of nothing except for the fact that I am beating all Republicans and Democrats badly in
the Presidential race,” Trump wrote. “Additionally, the statute of limitations has long since ended,” he added.
As previously reported by Rolling Stone, sources close to the former president advised him that his best strategy avoid an indictment is to insist that the payments were not made in order to prevent electoral fallout—but to keep the peace at home and avoid conflict with Melania Trump.
The possibility of federal charges against Trump hinges on prosecutors’ ability to prove that the reimbursement Michael Cohen received from the former president after he made the payment to Daniels was effectively a cover-up of an illegal campaign contribution.
But even if Trump does manage to convince a grand jury that he spent 130K to avoid pissing off his wife, the Manhattan investigation is only the tip of the Trump-legal-woe iceberg. A Georgia grand jury has also hinted that it is preparing to recommend criminal charges against the former president regarding his role in efforts to subvert the state’s electoral process in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Trump is also facing a special counsel investigation regarding his retention of hundreds of highly classified documents after leaving office.
An indictment against Trump would be the first criminal indictment against a former president. Manhattan prosecutors have been circling the former president for years now, and it remains to be seen if Bragg will be the first to attempt to take a bite.