Trump, about to be the first former US president indicted for the bribery of Stormy Daniels

Trump Stormy Daniels Case

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has offered former President Donald Trump to testify before the grand jury next week. Although Trump is expected to reject the offer, the mere fact that it happened means he is very close to facing criminal charges over the $130,000 payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. These payments, made just before the election that Trump won,  were part of a confidentiality agreement under which Daniels would not make public their affair.

“He has the opportunity to appear before the grand jury as all persons under investigation do,” Trump attorney Susan Necheles told Reuters. Anonymous sources from the Manhattan Prosecutor’s Office have pointed out to ‘The New York Times’ that such invitations almost always mean that the prosecution is about to fall.

The former president is expected to decline to appear because, doing so by invitation, it would mean waiving the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by people who appear before a grand jury while giving testimony. For this reason, lawyers often advise that they not speak if there is a possibility that they will be prosecuted.

Marc Scholl, a former Manhattan prosecutor, confirmed to Reuters that the fact that Trump has the opportunity to testify suggests that the grand jury has heard evidence implicating him in a crime. “The invitation should mean that the prosecutor is preparing to seek criminal charges. If he appears, he will have to waive immunity and answer the prosecutor’s questions,” he said.

If Trump is impeached, it would mean the first indictment ever against a former  US president and add to the legal challenges Trump faces in his quest for the 2024 Republican nomination for president.

Stormy Daniels Case

The sexual scandal between Donald Trump and Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, broke out when the actress and porn film director said that she had relations with Trump and that she received $130,000 before the 2016 presidential election in exchange for him not counting it.

Trump and Daniels reportedly met at a golf tournament in 2006. At the time, Trump was already married to his third wife, Melania Trump. According to Daniels, she had a sexual relationship with Trump in her hotel room that same night.

The matter came to light in January 2018, when The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, had paid Daniels $130,000 in October 2016 to buy his silence. Cohen alleged that he paid Daniels with his own money and that Trump knew nothing about it. However, after investigation, it was discovered that the money had been refunded to Cohen through the Trump campaign.

After the story broke, Daniels filed a lawsuit against Trump to invalidate a confidentiality agreement he had signed in connection with the sexual encounter. That lawsuit was settled in March 2019, when a federal judge ruled that the agreement was invalid and that Daniels could speak freely about her relationship with Trump.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for violations of campaign finance law in connection with paying Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who reportedly slept with him two months before he took office. Trump, however, denies that any such romances occurred.

“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, of the Republican Party,” he said in Truth Social in 2018.