STATE OF THE ART NEW YORK: According to two Reuters sources, a grand jury in New York is currently hearing testimony about former President Donald Trump’s involvement in hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office may pursue criminal charges against the former president, and a grand jury could provide the necessary evidence.
Reuters cites “a source familiar with the matter” as saying that former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker testified before a grand jury. The New York Times, which first reported the grand jury’s existence on Monday, said that Pecker was spotted entering the building in lower Manhattan where the grand jury is empaneled. There was a delay in getting a comment from Pecker.
A publishing house had offered to assist Trump by purchasing the rights to negative articles and never publishing them.
These developments suggest that District Attorney Alvin Bragg is getting closer to deciding whether or not to file charges against Trump.
The Bragg administration has remained silent in the face of the Times article.
Trump denies the affair ever happened and told reporters in 2018 that he had no idea about a payment to Daniels, but Daniels says she was paid $130,000 before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about it.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, was given a three-year prison term in New York federal court for arranging hush money payments to Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had a months-long affair with Trump before he took office.
McDougal claims she received $150,000 from American Media Inc. (AMI) for the sale of her story, but that it was never published. This incident involved the use of “catch and kill” to suppress a damaging article before it could be published.
According to a 2018 Wall Street Journal article, Trump and Cohen’s longtime friend, AMI’s former CEO David Pecker, told prosecutors about their hush-money deals with McDougal and Daniels before Trump won the 2016 US election.