According to a source on Saturday, Michael Cohen, the middleman in the Stormy Daniels hush-money scandal and former attorney for President Trump, will go in front of a Manhattan grand jury on Monday to discuss payments made to the adult film actress.
Cohen’s appearance before a grand jury was called by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg. Prosecutors are reportedly close to wrapping up their investigation into payments totaling $130,000 that Trump made to Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election to prevent her from speaking out about their alleged affair.
Cohen has been meeting with Manhattan prosecutors frequently lately. The lawyer reportedly spent all day Friday meeting with prosecutors to prepare for his testimony the following week.
Announcing that he would be taking a little bit of time now to be silent and enable the DA to develop their case’ he declined to speak as he departed the meeting.
Per the four individuals, Trump had also been asked to testify in the investigation that might result in the 45th president becoming the first president to be prosecuted. Trump’s likelihood of accepting the offer is low.
The inquiry was mocked by Trump on social media, however, who called it a “Scam, Injustice, Mockery, and Full and Utter Weaponization of Law Enforcement in order to affect a Presidential Election!”
The criminal investigation into Daniels’ payments is partially based on a separate New York State criminal case, which in December found the Trump Organization guilty of multiple counts of tax fraud and fabricating financial documents.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s probe might lead to charges against Trump personally for allegedly arranging Daniels’ payments, accounting for them improperly on the part of the Trump Organization, and falsifying financial records.
As the newly elected district attorney stalled the inquiry and lost two prosecutors last year, it seemed as though the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation had run aground.
Nevertheless, the inquiry was revived, and its attention shifted to payments made to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal as hush money.
Daniels was paid by Cohen through his own company and then reimbursed by Trump, through the Trump Organization which reported the reimbursements as legal expenditures.
Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty
In relation to the Daniels payments, Cohen, who is currently a cooperating witness, pled guilty to tax evasion and campaign financing offenses. He was given a three-year federal prison term, required to pay a $50,000 fine, and eventually lost his right to practice law.
Although the US attorney’s office in New York declined to press charges against Trump, who was by this time the US president residing in the White House, federal prosecutors said during Cohen’s criminal case that Trump was aware of the payments to the women.
From 2006 through 2018, Cohen served as Trump’s lawyer and fixer. He is currently alienated from his former employer. He turned up his cell phones to the Manhattan district attorney earlier this year, along with voice recordings of discussions he had with a lawyer for Daniels, emails, and text messages.
Not all former members of Trump’s inner circle have spoken with prosecutors, including Cohen. It’s also possible that former spokeswomen Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway visited the district attorney’s offices in lower Manhattan.