The New York Times reported last week that the Manhattan district attorney’s office offered Donald Trump an opportunity to testify before a grand jury investigating a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. The offer signals that DA Alvin Bragg is getting ready to indict Trump. It’s now on Bragg to do so, as Trump is not going to testify or cooperate with the probe in any way, one of his lawyers said on Monday.
“We have no plans on participating in that proceeding,” Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. “Decision needs to be made still. There’s been no deadline set, so we’ll wait and see.”
Tacopina also released a lengthy statement accusing Bragg of “weaponizing” his office against Trump, claiming, as Trump often has himself, that Bragg is guilty “prosecutorial misconduct” while trying to prevent Trump from winning the 2024 presidential election.
The problem with the “prosecutorial conduct” argument is that Bragg may have an actual case against Trump, aided in part by the former president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen. Cohen, who was intimately involved with the payment to Daniels, will reportedly testify before the grand jury on Monday. He’s far from a reliable witness, but he’s reportedly given prosecutors emails, text messages, and audio recordings pertaining to the payment.
Cohen has already spent time in prison for his involvement with the scheme, which he has said was carried out at Trump’s direction to prevent news of his alleged affair from leaking ahead of the 2016 election. Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment after he took office, and prosecutors are reportedly looking at whether the Trump Organization falsified business records to hide the payment.
Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Bragg and his office for investigating the payment. “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,” the former president wrote last week on Truth Social, describing Bragg, who is Black, as a “Racist, George Soros backed D.A.”
Trump would be the first former president in American history to be charged with a crime, should Bragg follow through and indict Trump for his role in the payment.