NY Prosecutors Think They Have a Criminal Case Against Trump for That 2016 Hush Money Payment to Stormy Daniels: Report

At the moment, donald trump faces approximately 982,157 legal issues, some of which could result in a prison sentence. In the past nine months, however, there has been one case he has not had to worry about: an investigation by the Manhattan Attorney’s Office that resulted in a criminal complaint. While prosecutors indicted the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO last year for allegedly running a 15-year tax fraud scheme and said the CFO testified against that company last week, charges were never brought against Trump and an investigation into him personally was effectively dead discontinued February. But that grace period is apparently over.

Corresponding The New York Times, District Attorney of Manhattan Alvin Brag has refocused its criminal investigation on Trump — but this time it’s not about the alleged tax fraud that led to his company being indicted for more than a dozen crimes, or the case that Bragg all but dropped earlier this year . Instead, the record-keeping document reports that prosecutors are returning to the matter that originally sparked their investigation into Trump several years ago: the hush money payment made to the porn star in the closing days of his 2016 campaign stormy daniels, whom Trump wanted to silence about an affair she allegedly had with the then-candidate in 2006 Cyrus Vance Jr., Ultimately choosing to shift his focus to Trump’s “broader business practices,” Bragg and some of his deputies reportedly “recently indicated to employees, supporters and at least one attorney involved in the matter that they are Bauen’s newly optimistic are a case against Mr. Trump” regarding the $130,000 payment he made through his attorney at the time michael cohen, to Daniels.

Unfortunately, while one might think this would be a slam dunk case, given that Cohen literally went to jail for getting reimbursed by Trump, it’s not as clear as it looks.

Per the Times:

By the time Mr. Vance received Mr. Trump’s tax returns in early 2021, he had developed concerns about charging Mr. Trump with allegations of falsifying Trump Organization records related to the hush-hush money. Falsifying business records is a criminal offense in New York. To make this a crime, prosecutors would need to show that Mr. Trump falsified the hush money records in order to commit or cover up a second crime.

Mr. Vance’s office investigated several secondary crimes that Mr. Trump may have been trying to hide, people with knowledge of their discussions said, and concluded that the most promising underlying crime option was violating federal campaign funding, to which Mr Cohen had pleaded guilty. But with the help of outside legal experts, prosecutors eventually concluded that this approach was too risky — a judge could determine that falsifying business records is a crime only if it aids or covers up a crime committed by New York State, not a federal crime.

According to legal experts who spoke to the Times, It’s possible that Bragg is “prosecuting a violation of a New York state election law to substantiate a potential case,” which Vance briefly considered, finally concluding that the payment was made with funds for a federal campaign was outside the bounds of state law. Although, like that Times notes it is not clear “how Mr. Bragg could solve this problem”. Also not clear: That their apparent hope is to turn around the Trump Organization’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg works this time:

To build the hush money case, prosecutors are picking up another strategy that has yet to work: pressuring a top Trump lieutenant, Allen H. Weisselberg, to cooperate. While Mr. Weisselberg has already pleaded guilty to unrelated tax charges and testified against Mr. Trump’s company in his trial for the same tax crimes last week, he has not pleaded against Mr. Trump. To add pressure, prosecutors are considering a new round of indictments against Mr Weisselberg in hopes of securing his cooperation against the former president, people said. These potential charges concern insurance fraud and are unrelated to the hush money.

To escalate their pressure campaign on Mr. Weisselberg, prosecutors may threaten him with insurance fraud charges, according to people familiar with the matter. The possible basis for such an indictment was first revealed in a court filing in January of the Attorney General’s Civil Inquiry and detailed in the lawsuit her office filed in September. In the lawsuit, she accused Mr Trump and his company of committing “amazing” fraud by overstating his assets by billions of dollars in his financial statements.

Both documents accused Mr. Weisselberg of lying to an insurance insurer when he claimed that the value of the Trump Organization’s real estate holdings had been appraised by an independent appraiser, when in fact this was not the case. Because insurer Zurich North America relied on Mr. Weisselberg’s assessment assurances to renew its coverage, legal experts say his false statements could be used as evidence in an insurance fraud case.

Weisselberg’s lawyer refused Times‘Request for comments. Trump has denied the affair with Stormy Daniels, a counterpoint to that denial is that she was unfortunately able to go into great detail about the ex-President’s genitals. It’s also important to note that he actually authorized the payment to Daniels.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/11/donald-trump-stormy-daniels-manhattan-district-attorney-hush-money NY Prosecutors Think They Have a Criminal Case Against Trump for That 2016 Hush Money Payment to Stormy Daniels: Report

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