Prosecutors Announce They Have Trump On Tape As Criminal Trial Approaches

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In the criminal case against Donald Trump in Manhattan that relates to allegedly falsified business records stemming from hush money given to a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair some years prior, prosecutors have announced they have a recording of Trump and a witness, though initial reports didn’t conclusively identify the other individual.

The team of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg referred to the recording on a form associated with the discovery process, which is a pretrial period in which parties to a case can assemble potentially relevant evidence in forms like depositions and documents. It also appears that Trump’s lawyers had been previously made aware of the existence of the recording before this latest disclosure.

Previously, an attorney for Michael Cohen — a former ally to Trump who has subsequently turned against him — disclosed the existence of a contemporaneous recording that seemed to indicate Trump discussing methods of paying off a second woman, Karen McDougal, whose story was actually bought by a company behind the National Enquirer. 

Lawyers for or around Trump at the time the recording from Cohen first emerged had laughable excuses. Rudy Giuliani, for instance, claimed that Trump had said the opposite of what it appeared he actually uttered, though the quality of the tape itself didn’t make it overwhelmingly clear. Though the idea from Trump opponents scrutinizing the audio was that Trump suggested paying with cash, Rudy claimed Donald said to not pay with cash. Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump company, argued that Trump was using “cash” to mean the opposite of financing… which isn’t really relevant. A short-term payment as opposed to a long-term arrangement is still a payment.

Trump’s trial in this case, which covers allegedly falsified records specifically meant to cover money paid to Cohen after he provided the hush money for Stormy Daniels, is set to begin in late March of 2024. The trial date could significantly interfere with Trump’s ability to participate in the presidential primary campaigning that will be taking place during that time. The point is essentially smack dab in the middle of the process of individual states holding their primaries.