Trump Put Under Investigation For Funneling Cash To Silence Witness

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Donald Trump, the presidential candidate backed by evangelicals and right-wing “family values” voters, has cheated on three wives, including with adult film star and director Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford). Hush money payments originally paid by Trump attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen to Ms. Clifford and reimbursed during the presidential campaign by the Trump organization were discovered rather early into Trump’s presidency, but plans to bring charges for the potential crimes related to those hush money payments were abandoned by former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance.

His successor seems to feel differently about the case.

In recent weeks, sources close to the DA’s office have told reporters that Alvin Bragg, the current district attorney in Manhattan, may be reopening investigations into Trump’s hush money payment. Vance originally declined to bring charges against Trump for that payment and, instead, explored Trump’s businesses broader financial dealings, instead. Bragg balked at bringing charges in that investigation, which is still being tried as a civil case.

According to The New York Times:

‘The district attorney’s office first examined the payment to the actress, Stormy Daniels, years ago before changing direction to scrutinize Mr. Trump’s broader business practices. But Mr. Bragg and some of his deputies have recently indicated to associates, supporters and at least one lawyer involved in the matter that they are newly optimistic about building a case against Mr. Trump, the people said.’

The DA’s office is hoping to pressure the Trump Organization’s CFO, Allen Weisselberg, who is currently standing trial for tax fraud. Prosecutors have explored the option of new charges to be brought against Weisselberg in order to increase the pressure on him in the hopes of his turning against Trump, but he has not done so thus far. Prosecutors currently faced hurdles in defining Trump’s actions as a federal or state crime and what was required for the acts to be classified as felonies or misdemeanors. New information may be swaying the prosecutors’ certainly of defining the crimes in court as felonies prosecutable by a state office.

‘Falsifying business records can be charged as a misdemeanor in New York. To make it a felony, prosecutors would need to show that Mr. Trump falsified the hush-money records to help commit or conceal a second crime.’

Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty in court to crimes related to the hush money payment, which he told the judge he did at the behest of the man who was, at the time, a United States president. Cohen was sentenced to prison for those confessions, while Trump has not been held accountable. Bragg’s next move could change that.

‘Mr. Cohen’s plea provided the impetus for the district attorney’s office to investigate whether Mr. Trump ran afoul of state laws with the hush-money payment. In particular, they examined whether the company falsely accounted for the reimbursements to Mr. Cohen as a legal expense — in violation of a New York law that prohibits the falsifying of business records.’