NY District Attorney Bragg Revives Stormy Daniels Hush Money Criminal Investigation Of Donald Trump

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Just before the 2016 presidential election, a porn star claimed she had a one-night stand with Donald Trump. Stormy Daniels’ claims of a one-night stand in 2006, when Trump’s third wife Melania was pregnant with their son Barron, now 16, were immediately denied by the soon-to-be president. Trump and Daniels met at a charity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe a year after he married his wife Melania, and were photographed together there.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and said he never had an affair with Daniels. The matter did not go to court and a payment to Daniels was reportedly made. Trump has consistently denied having an affair with Daniels and explained the payment as being a personal matter rather than a campaign expense.

Now that the former president has just announced his candidacy for president in 2024, the matter is being brought up again by Democrats who will do anything to keep Trump from making America great again.

The Daily Mail has reported that Manhattan’s woke DA is said to be restarting a legal probe into Donald Trump over the payment to Daniels. Alvin Bragg is said to be probing whether the illegal $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, made shortly before the 2016 presidential election, could be tied to Trump. Previously, former District Attorney Cyrus Vance looked into whether Trump had broken any state laws by making the payment and whether any records held by The Trump Organization were falsified in the process.

That probe appeared to come to a halt earlier in the year. Falsifying business records can be charged as a misdemeanor in New York. In order to make it a felony, prosecutors would need to show that Trump falsified the hush-money records to help commit or conceal a second crime.

The payment was made by the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has served three years in prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations related to the payments as part of a federal probe. Cohen has always alleged that he was following Trump’s orders. Cohen was later reimbursed for the cash by Trump, with Bragg now likely to try and say that proves there was a conspiracy between the two men.

According to The New York Times, Bragg’s strategy is an untried one. He is believed to be turning the screws on former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg to help him build the case. Weisselberg has already struck a plea deal over tax charges related to freebies and donations he received while working for Trump but has refused to turn informant against the former president.

Prosecutors are now looking in particular at whether The Trump Organization’s finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, might be pressured into cooperating with the renewed probe, according to the Times.

Bragg is said to hope threatening him with fresh insurance fraud charges could change that. He has been accused of giving insurers a figure for Trump organization assets without having them properly valued. Weisselberg is already facing a stretch in the notorious Rikers Island prison over the tax charges – with the prospect of a long stretch, there is a potentially-powerful bargaining tool in Bragg’s armor.

Weisselberg is alleged to have had knowledge of the payment and has already pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges in a criminal case involving The Trump Organization that is currently being heard at Manhattan Supreme Court. Weisselberg has agreed to testify as a witness for the prosecution in exchange for a five-month prison sentence.

The District Attorney’s Office is now weighing whether to bring fresh charges against Weisselberg in the hope of securing his cooperation once more, the Times reports.

The charges would be unrelated to the payments made to Daniels, and the move is being criticized as an attack on Trump.

Michael van der Veen, a lawyer for The Trump Organization blasted the latest probe, Daily Mail reports.

He said: ‘I really don’t believe that they’re going back and conducting these investigations, and if there’s any truth to it, it would show poor judgment. The millions of taxpayer dollars they’ve spent on countless investigations, it’s a big waste of time and money.’

Under Vance, prosecutors worked on a broader case against Trump looking at whether he had falsely inflated the value of his hotels, golf clubs, and various other assets by billions of dollars in order to obtain better loan terms.

Trump last week announced that he will be running for president once again in 2024, had his Twitter profile restored, and is still being investigated with no results so far by a special counsel over the January 6 insurrection.

Earlier this year, when Bragg took over as Manhattan District Attorney, he appeared to balk at looking to indict Trump over his business practices seemingly uncomfortable at the DA’s office’s ability to show that Trump had intended to break the law which would be needed for the case to succeed.

Bragg’s office has not commented publicly on this regenerated probe.

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