Manhattan Grand Jury Taking A Previously Scheduled Month-Long Break: Report

The Manhattan grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s alleged $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels won’t hear evidence in the case for a month as it goes on a previously scheduled break.

POLITICO reported that any potential indictment of Trump would not happen until at least the end of April unless the grand jury’s schedule changes.

The former president claimed on March 18 that he was going to be indicted on Tuesday of last week, which did not happen. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said this week that Trump had “created a false expectation that he would be arrested.”

The case involves an alleged payment that former Trump attorney Micheal Cohen admits he made to Daniels during the presidential race to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 tryst between Trump and Daniels. Cohen pleaded guilty to related charges and served time in prison.

Although non-disclosure agreements are legal, the potential problem for Trump centers around how his company reimbursed Cohen. The payment was listed as a legal expense and the company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist and the reimbursement was not related to any legal services from Cohen, thus setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records. The report said that Trump personally signed several of the checks to Cohen while he was serving as president.

As noted by the New York Post and The New York Times, federal prosecutors say that Cohen was paid $420,000 by Trump or Trump’s trust. According to the prosecutors, that money included $130,000 for the payment and $50,000 for digital work Cohen did for Trump. That $180,000 was then allegedly doubled to offset taxes. The remaining $60,000 was a “bonus,” prosecutors say.

Prosecutors can elevate the misdemeanor to a felony if they can prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”

Prosecutors argue that the second crime is that the alleged $130,000 hush payment was an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was used to stop a story for the purpose of benefiting his presidential campaign.

This is a breaking news story; refresh the page for updates. 

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