If decided, a criminal charge would be a first for a former president of the United States and a thorn in the side for Donald Trump on his way to a return to the White House after the presidential election of 2024.
Donald Trump “must be held accountable for his crap,” Michael Cohen told several media when he arrived in court, saying he wanted to “tell the truth” and not want “revenge”.
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His lawyer Lanny Davis, contacted by AFP, confirmed that his client “was questioned by the grand jury”, a panel of citizens with broad investigative powers.
Michael Cohen was to testify in the investigation into the $ 130,000 he had paid in 2016 to the pornographic actress Stormy Daniels – Stephanie Clifford of her real name – to buy her silence on an alleged relationship she would have had with Donald Trump.
The payment had taken place two weeks before the presidential election won by the Republican against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The former lawyer had been sentenced, after pleading guilty, to three years in prison in particular for having orchestrated this payment in violation of the laws on the financing of electoral campaigns. He assured that he acted at the express request of the Republican candidate, who would have reimbursed him once he arrived at the White House.
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Last Thursday, the New York Times and the Washington Post revealed that the Manhattan prosecutor’s office had also invited Donald Trump to testify before the grand jury, which could mean that an indictment is near for the former president.
According to the New York Times, Donald Trump could be charged with a misdemeanor misdemeanor accounting misrepresentation to conceal the payment to Stormy Daniels.
These charges could become heavier and become criminal if the prosecutors consider that the offense was intended to hide a violation of the rules of financing of the electoral campaigns, had also explained the New York Times.
After the revelations of the two newspapers, Donald Trump had denounced Thursday on his Truth Social network a “political witch hunt aimed at bringing down the leading candidate, (and this) by far, of the Republican Party” in the presidential primary of 2024.
“I have never had an affair with Stormy Daniels,” added Donald Trump, who is targeted in other court cases but has never been criminally charged.