NEW YORK – Former US President Donald Trump has been asked to testify before a New York grand jury investigating silence payments made on his behalf during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina has confirmed that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has invited the ex-president to testify next week as prosecutors prepare to decide whether to prosecute what may be the first case. charge against the former US president.
“To me, it’s much ado about nothing,” Takopina told The Associated Press. “It’s another example of how they’re using the justice system as a weapon against him. And that’s kind of unfair.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, declined to comment.
The indictments could come as Trump steps up his fight to return to the White House in 2024 while trying to resolve legal issues on multiple fronts.
In a lengthy statement posted to his social media platform, Trump called the investigation a “political witch hunt to remove the current leading Republican Party candidate.”
“I did absolutely nothing wrong,” the former US president said.
The New York grand jury is investigating Trump’s complicity in paying adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016 to deter her from publicly alleging a sexual relationship she claims she had with Trump during several years earlier.
The money was paid from the personal funds of Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who said it was reimbursed by the Trump Organization.
In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges that that payment and another were illegal campaign contributions.
It is not yet known what charges prosecutors are considering.
Experts say a potential crime could be the misclassification of payments to Cohen as legal fees. New York City has a law against tampering with business records, but it is considered a misdemeanor unless the tampering involves a serious crime.
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