Former President Donald Trump
Trump has rejected the Manhattan district attorney’s invitation to testify before a grand jury this week.
Defense lawyer Joe Tacopina says Trump will not participate in an inquiry with ‘no legal merit.’
Grand jurors are looking at Trump’s alleged role in a $130,000 ‘hush money’ payment from 2016.
Former president Donald Trump has rejected an invitation from the Manhattan district attorney’s office to testify before a grand jury now hearing evidence in a possible felony indictment for a $130,000 “hush-money” payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump had been invited to testify this week, said his lawyer, Joe Tacopina.
“He won’t be participating in that proceeding,” Tacopina told Insider on Monday, after meeting with Trump in Florida over the weekend.
“It is a proceeding that we — and most election law experts — believe has absolutely no legal merit,” he said.
The defense believes that prosecutors are pursuing charges of falsifying business records, a low-level felony that is punishable by a sentence of as little as probation and no jail, and by as much as four years in state prison.
Just what records prosecutors believe were falsified has been hinted at in “People vs. Donald Trump,” an expose published last month by the Trump probe’s former lead prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz.
Prosecutors believed that Trump’s allegedly falsified records include a 2016 non-disclosure agreement, a document that used false names for Trump and Daniels, Pomerantz wrote.
Other potential documents allegedly falsified by Trump involve reimbursements that the then-president and the Trump Organization made in 2017 to attorney Michael Cohen, Pomerantz wrote.
Cohen fronted the money to Daniels and admitted in federal court in 2018 that the $130,000 was a campaign expenditure meant to influence the election by preventing voters from hearing Daniels’ account.
The reimbursements Trump made to Cohen in a series of checks throughout 2017 were falsely processed by Trump Org as “legal expenses,” Pomerantz alleged.
Cohen is now one of Trump’s most vocal critics.
Cohen began his grand jury testimony in the Manhattan district attorney’s hush money case on Monday, and is expected to be the secret presentation’s final witness.
Trump’s defense team believes prosecutors will try to prove that Trump indeed intended to benefit his campaign when he ordered Cohen to wire the $130,000 to Daniels on October 27, 2016, days before the 2016 presidential election.
In return, Daniels agreed to remain silent about an affair she alleged she had with Trump in …read more
Source:: Business Insider