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Stormy Daniels meets with prosecutors investigating Donald Trump
15 March 2023, 20:34
Manhattan prosecutors have convened a grand jury that is looking into a 2016 payment paid to the adult film star on behalf of the former president.
Adult film star Stormy Daniels has met with prosecutors who are investigating hush money paid to her on former US president Donald Trump’s behalf, her lawyer said.
The news emerged as Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer who orchestrated the payment, was giving a second day of evidence before a New York grand jury looking into the matter.
The 130,000 dollar (£108,000) payment was made in 2016, as Mr Trump’s first presidential campaign was in its final weeks and Ms Daniels was negotiating to go on television to air her claims of a sexual encounter with him a decade earlier.
Cohen made the payment and arranged another payout – at Mr Trump’s direction, he says.
Ms Daniels met with and answered questions from Manhattan prosecutors and is willing to be a witness, her lawyer Clark Brewster tweeted.
The adult film actor tweeted her thanks to her lawyer for “helping me in our continuing fight for truth and justice”.
A message seeking comment was sent to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Earlier on Wednesday, Cohen said he felt “great” as he headed into what he expected to be his final day of grand jury evidence.
Ms Daniels has said she had a 2006 sexual encounter with Mr Trump that she did not want, but did not say no to.
Mr Trump says it never happened.
The former president’s current lawyer said Mr Trump was invited to give evidence before the grand jury but has no plans to do so.
Federal prosecutors in 2018 charged Cohen with campaign finance crimes related to payments to Ms Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, arguing that the payouts amounted to impermissible gifts to Mr Trump’s election effort.
Ms McDougal, who was paid 150,000 dollars (£124,000), alleged she had an affair with the married Mr Trump in 2006-07.
He denied it.
Cohen pleaded guilty, served prison time and was disbarred.
Federal prosecutors never charged Mr Trump with any crime.
Manhattan prosecutors have been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Mr Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.
Cohen and federal prosecutors said the company paid him 420,000 dollars (£349,000) to reimburse him for the payment to Ms Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses.
The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses.
Falsifying business records can be a misdemeanour under state law, or a felony if the fudging of paperwork is done in connection with a more serious crime.
Mr Trump and his lawyers have said he was extorted into paying the money to Ms Daniels and should be considered the victim in the investigation.
Ms Daniels and the lawyers who helped arrange the payment have denied extorting anyone.