Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to testify before grand jury on hush-money investigation
Former President Trump’s ex-attorney Michael Cohen is set to testify Monday before a grand jury investigating hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels on behalf of Trump.
Cohen’s scheduled testimony comes as prosecutors are nearing a decision on whether to bring charges against the former president as part of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into the payments. Bragg’s office has questioned at least seven other people before the grand jury.
Trump was asked to testify before the New York grand jury next week.
Cohen has already done 20 interviews with Bragg’s office and will appear before the grand jury on Monday afternoon, his attorney Lanny Davis told Axios.
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“Mr. Cohen will continue to cooperate,” Davis said. “We are impressed with Mr. Bragg’s team and its careful and meticulous approach.”
In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges, including campaign finance violations, and was sentenced to three years in prison for arranging payments to Daniels and model Karen McDougal to keep them from going public. The former president has denied having the affairs.
Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 through his own company and was later reimbursed by Trump’s company, which logged the payments as “legal expenses.” McDougal’s received $150,000 through the publisher of the supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer.
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Trump slammed the investigation on Friday, writing on social media that the probe is a “Scam, Injustice, Mockery, and Complete and Total Weaponization of Law Enforcement in order to affect a Presidential Election!”
Prosecutors appear to be investigating whether Trump committed crimes in arranging the payments or in how they were accounted for internally at the Trump Organization.
The Trump Organization “grossed up” Cohen’s reimbursement for Daniels’ payment for “tax purposes,” according to federal prosecutors who filed criminal charges against Cohen for the payments in 2018.
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Federal prosecutors said during Cohen’s criminal case that Trump was aware of the payments to the women. But the U.S. attorney’s office in New York did not criminally charge the then-sitting president. Trump’s legal team claimed victory when the federal case was closed.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office later launched a separate investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.