Former President Donald Trump has been invited to testify before a New York grand jury that has been investigating alleged hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to one of his lawyers.
The development hints that a formal indictment in New York is extremely likely, experts said — and Trump took to social media to respond in a furious series of posts.
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I did absolutely nothing wrong, I never had an affair with Stormy Daniels, nor would I have wanted to have an affair with Stormy Daniels. This is a political Witch-Hunt, trying to take down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party.
Department of Injustice itself, which has unprecedentedly placed top DOJ prosecutors into the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in order to “get Trump”, have found that I did nothing wrong. Now, they fall back on the old, and rebuked case which has been rejected by every prosecutor’s office that has looked at this Stormy “Horseface” Daniels matter, where I relied on counsel in order to resolve this Extortion of me, which took place a long time ago.
Since then, I have won lawsuits for hundreds of thousands of dollars against Stormy Daniels, and every prosecutors’ office which has looked at it, which are numerous, including the FEC, have turned this fake case down. This is not a state case, it is a federal case, and they have all passed on it.
Even the previous Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance, did not bring charges because I am guilty of nothing except for the fact that I am beating all Republicans and Democrats badly in the Presidential race.
It is Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, the no-collusion Mueller hoax, and other targeted, false attacks against me all over again. It is a weaponization of our judicial system, and I am shocked that this Soros backed radical left prosecutor, who has allowed violent crime to reach new heights in New York without any retribution, would consider bringing such a charge against the undisputed front runner of one of the two major political parties in our Nation.
Additionally, the statute of limitations has long since ended and, in fact, Radical Left media, one and a half years ago, did a “countdown” on the statute of limitations, which was allowed to expire. The countdown ended and until now nobody had any idea that it was allowed to continue in this one lowball office.
It is appalling that the Democrats would play this card and only means that they are certain that they cannot win at the voter booth, so they have to go to a tool that has never been used in such a way in our country, weaponized law enforcement.
I, and hundreds of millions of the American People who are backing me, because they want to see our nation be great again, are the victims of this corrupt, depraved, and weaponized justice system where Hunter Biden and his father can commit horrendous crimes, all accurately documented on his laptop, and nothing happens, but with me, after looking at 11 million pages worth of documents, they go after a hoax that every other prosecutor’s office which reviewed it, and even the U.S. Congress, has long ago dropped. I will not be deterred, I will always continue to be your voice, and I will keep fighting for our great Country.
Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina confirmed Thursday that the Manhattan district attorney’s office has invited the former president to testify next week as prosecutors near a decision on whether to proceed with what could be the first criminal case ever brought against a former U.S. president.
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“To me, it’s much ado about nothing,” Tacopina told the Associated Press, adding he didn’t think prosecutors had committed “one way or another” on a decision on whether to charge Trump. He said there was no legal basis for a case..
“It’s just another example of them weaponizing the justice system against him. And it’s sort of unfair,” he said.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, declined to comment. Such an invitation to testify before a grand jury often indicates a decision on indictments is near.
The invitation to testify was first reported by The New York Times.
Any indictment would come as Trump is ramping up a run to regain the White House in 2024 while simultaneously battling legal problems on multiple fronts.
Meanwhile, the district attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, has said decisions are “imminent” in a two-year investigation into possible illegal meddling in the 2020 election by Trump and his allies. A U.S. Justice Department special counsel is also investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to undo the election as well as the handling of classified documents at his Florida estate.
The New York grand jury has been probing Trump’s involvement in a $130,000 payment made in 2016.
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The money was paid out of the personal funds of Trump’s now-estranged lawyer, Michael Cohen, who then said he was reimbursed by the Trump Organization and also paid extra bonuses for a total that eventually rose to $420,000.
Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 that the payment, and another he helped arrange to the model Karen McDougal through the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid, amounted to an illegal campaign contribution.
Federal prosecutors at the time decided not to bring charges against Trump, who by then was president. The Manhattan district attorney’s office then launched its own investigation, which lingered for several years but has been gathering momentum in recent weeks.
Several figures close to Trump have been spotted in recent days entering Bragg’s office for meetings with prosecutors, including his former political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokesperson Hope Hicks.
Cohen has also met several times with prosecutors, saying after a recent visit that he thought the investigation was nearing a conclusion.
Under New York law, people who appear before a grand jury are given immunity from prosecution for things they say during their testimony, so potential targets of criminal investigations are generally invited to testify only if they waive that immunity. Lawyers generally advise clients not to do so if there is a potential for a criminal case.
It isn’t clear what charges prosecutors might be exploring.
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Legal experts have said one potential charge could be the way the payments to Cohen were structured and falsely classified internally as being for a legal retainer. New York has a law against falsifying business records, but it is a misdemeanor unless the records fudging is done in conjunction with a more serious felony crime.
Tacopina said there was no crime.
“There’s no precedent for this. There’s no established case law on this campaign finance stuff. It’s ridiculous. And there’s no underlying crime,” he said.
Separately, the district attorney’s office has also spent years investigating whether Trump and his company inflated the value of some its assets in dealings with lenders and potential business partners. Those allegations are the subject of a civil lawsuit, filed by the state’s attorney general.
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The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article