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Former Trump Lawyer Will Testify to Grand Jury in Trump Hush-Money Probe

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, will testify Monday before a Manhattan grand jury investigating the hush money payments made in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential elections. 

Cohen is a key witness in the investigation and is coming forward at a critical time as New York prosecutors approach a decision on whether to seek charges against Trump. Now estranged from Trump, the former lawyer has met with prosecutors 20 times, including a day-long session Friday to prepare for his appearance before the grand jury. He will likely have details on whatever involvement the former president may have had in payments to two women who alleged affairs and sexual encounters with him.

Cohen paid $130,000 to an adult film star to keep her quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump. Additionally, Cohen arranged for former Playboy model Karen McDougal to be paid $150,000 by the National Enquirer to bury her story about her alleged affair with Trump. 

Trump has denied the affairs, saying he “did absolutely nothing wrong” and called the investigation a “political Witch-Hunt.”

Cohen has given evidence, including recorded conversations, text messages, and emails with the lawyer for one of the women, as well as a taped conversation with Trump talking about the arrangement for McDougal to be paid by the National Enquirer.

The former lawyer pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges, including campaign finance violations, for arranging the payouts and served three years in prison.

Trump was aware of the payments to the women during Cohen’s criminal case, according to Federal prosecutors. However, the U.S. attorney’s office in New York did not seek criminal charges against the then-sitting president.

Prosecutors are now determining whether Trump committed crimes in arranging the payments or in how they were accounted for internally at Trump’s Company, the Trump Organization. One possible charge would be falsifying records. No former U.S. president has ever been charged with a crime. 

Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, spoke with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ Good Morning America on Monday. Tacopina called the case “outrageous,” saying that the case is “distorting laws to try and bag President Trump.” 

Tacopina doubles down on Trump’s denial of the affair and says the former president had to pay money because the allegations would publicly embarrass him, regardless of the campaign. According to Tacopina, he says that, as of now, Trump will not testify. Tacopina does not expect criminal charges to be brought against the former president. 

These are not the only charging decisions on Trump’s plate. The district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, and a special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland is investigating Trump’s role in the January 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol and his handling of classified material.


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