Trump live updates: Former president calls criminal probe ‘new way of cheating in elections’
Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Waco, Texas, US, on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
Brandon Bell | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump has ramped up criticism of the criminal investigation into his then-lawyer’s hush money payment to a porn star before the 2016 election.
Trump is framing the probe by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office as a new way of “cheating” in elections.
Trump’s latest accusation echoes past, false claims he made leading up to and after the 2020 presidential, when he said there was widespread fraud as a result of mail-in ballots that became more common due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and to suppression of his supporters’ vote.
He and his allies argue that Bragg’s probe, and others by a Georgia prosecutor and the Department of Justice, are designed to harm his chances of winning the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and, ultimately regaining the White House.
The Manhattan grand jury that has been hearing testimony in the hush money case is expected to have the day off Tuesday, a day after former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker made his second appearance before the panel.
That means that the earliest day the grand jury could vote on a potential indictment of Trump is Wednesday.
Pecker tipped off Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2016 that porn actress Stormy Daniels was shopping around a story about having had sex with Trump a decade earlier.
Cohen soon afterward paid Daniels $130,000 to keep her quiet about the alleged tryst.
Trump denies having sex with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Bragg’s investigation is focused on the Trump Organization recording Trump’s reimbursement to Cohen for the payment as “legal expenses.” It is a misdemeanor under New York state law to misclassify business expenses in official records, and that can become a felony if the false statement was done to conceal another crime.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple federal crimes, including to a federal campaign finance violation for the payment to Daniels.
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