Manhattan District Attorney to Present Trump Hush-Money Evidence to Grand Jury

From a Wall Street Journal story by Corinne Ramey headlined “Manhattan District Attorney to Present Trump Hush-Money Evidence to Grand Jury”:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is moving to present evidence to a grand jury about hush money Donald Trump allegedly steered to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, according to people familiar with the matter, raising the prospect the former president could face criminal charges in New York.

The hush-money investigation began under the prior administration of Cyrus Vance Jr. but went largely dormant before the current district attorney, Alvin Bragg, took office. It gained steam under Mr. Bragg recently after Mr. Trump’s family business, the Trump Organization, was convicted of criminal tax fraud and other offenses late last year.

Mr. Bragg’s office also is pursuing a separate line of inquiry related to potential insurance fraud by the Trump Organization.

Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization noted that federal prosecutors hadn’t charged Mr. Trump after previously examining the hush-money allegations. “This is just the latest act by the Manhattan DA in their never ending, politically motivated witch hunt,” the spokeswoman said.

The grand-jury presentation was earlier reported by the New York Times. It couldn’t be determined whether the district attorney’s office was pursuing charges against Mr. Trump, the company or others involved in the hush-money payment.

In 2018, Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and other offenses, telling a judge that during the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump directed him to pay off one woman and arrange payment for another who said they had affairs with the former president. Federal prosecutors in 2019 told the judge overseeing the case that they had wrapped up the campaign-finance portion of that investigation.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Vance subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization about the payment to Ms. Daniels over an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump denied the sexual encounter. That aspect of the probe faded as Mr. Vance’s office shifted to an examination of whether Mr. Trump and his company falsely valued assets to gain benefits on insurance, taxes and loans.

The district attorney’s office hasn’t brought a criminal case on that issue, though New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, brought similar civil charges last year against Mr. Trump, his company and three of his children. They denied wrongdoing.

A former top Manhattan prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz, stepped down last year amid the inaction, saying in a resignation letter that Mr. Bragg instructed prosecutors not to seek charges related to the asset valuations, despite a previous authorization by Mr. Vance.

Mr. Pomerantz is set to release a book about his account of the investigation, titled “People vs. Donald Trump,” next week. Mr. Bragg’s office has said the book could hinder its continuing investigation into the former president, and has asked to review the manuscript. Mr. Pomerantz has said his writing of the book was consistent with his legal and ethical obligations.

Corinne Ramey is a Wall Street Journalreporter covering federal law enforcement and white-collar crime. She frequently writes about investigations and criminal cases brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including those related to public corruption and financial crime. She also covers New York investigations into Donald Trump and his family business.

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