Trump invited to testify before New York grand jury over Stormy Daniels payment allegations

Former President Trump at the annual Conservative Political Action Conferencein National Harbor, Maryland, earlier this month. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Former President Trump was invited to testify before a New York grand jury as part of the Manhattan district attorney's office investigation into hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, his lawyers told multiple outlets Thursday.

Why it matters: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's invitation could indicate that the former president may face criminal charges over the allegations, per the New York Times, which first reported the news. Trump's representatives called the "threat" of indictment was "insane."

What they're saying: Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina told AP there wasn't a legal basis for bringing the first-ever criminal case against a former president and he didn't think prosecutors had decided "one way or another."

  • "It’s just another example of them weaponizing the justice system against him," added Tacopina in confirming the grand jury invitation to Trump for next week. "And it's sort of unfair."
  • Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform political that the New York case was a "Witch-Hunt trying to take down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party."

The big picture: Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 on federal charges in relation to $130,000 in payments in hush money to Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, who said she had an affair with Trump — claims the former president strongly denies.

  • Cohen was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison. He alleged that Trump directed the payments during the 2016 presidential campaign, but Trump's legal team claimed vindication when the federal case was later closed.
  • However, the Manhattan District Attorney's office had launched a separate investigation under Bragg's predecessor that has been ongoing for several years.
  • Trump on Thursday accused Bragg of falling back on an "old and rebuked case which has been rejected by every prosecutor’s office that has looked."
  • Representatives for the Manhattan DA's office declined to comment on the case.

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