Davenport, Iowa – March 13: Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he lands at Quad City International Airport en route to Iowa Monday, March 13, 2023, in Moline, IL.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Federal, state and local law enforcement in New York is bracing for the possibility that ex-President Donald Trump will face criminal charges as early as next week in connection with a silent payment to a porn star, WNBC reported Friday.
Discussions between the agencies focused on potential security arrangements around the state criminal court in lower Manhattan, where a grand jury heard testimony related to the 2016 win at Stormy Daniels, according to the report, which cites five senior officials.
If charged, Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, would become the first former president to face criminal charges.
Many legal observers expect him to be indicted, based on the fact that a grand jury was convened in the first place and because prosecutors recently offered Trump the chance to testify.
Law enforcement agencies involved in security talks about this possibility include the New York Police Department, the United States Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and New State law enforcement officials. York, WNBC reported.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which is leading the criminal investigation into Trump, is also involved in the preparations, according to the report.
The report on the talks came two days after former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen concluded two days of grand jury testimony. Daniels also spoke to prosecutors via Zoom.
Cohen previously admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 at Trump’s behest on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to buy her silence over her claim that she had sex with Trump on one occasion years earlier. .
Trump denied having sex with Daniels, but his company reimbursed Cohen for the gain.
In recent days, Trump has lambasted Cohen, Daniels and prosecutors.
“President Donald J. Trump is completely innocent, he has done nothing wrong, and even top radical left Democrats are making that clear,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement late Thursday.
The criminal investigation focuses on the Trump Organization’s classification of the payment to Cohen as legal fees.
Such an alleged misstatement of a business expense is normally considered a misdemeanor under New York law, but can be escalated to a felony if done to hide an underlying crime.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a federal campaign finance charge related to the payment to Daniels. He also admitted his guilt for several other crimes.
He was sentenced to three years in prison, but was released two years earlier due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Trump Organization was convicted in December in an unrelated criminal tax evasion case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Trump personally faces three other criminal investigations in addition to the one related to Daniels.
A federal special counsel is overseeing the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, which he lost to President Joe Biden.
Special Counsel Jack Smith is also investigating Trump for removing hundreds of government documents, many marked classified, from the White House when he left office. He is also investigating possible obstruction of justice related to efforts by federal officials to recover them.
A Georgia state prosecutor is separately investigating Trump for his attempt to get state officials to reverse his 2020 election loss to Biden in that state.
A grand jury formed in that case recommended that a number of people be charged with a series of crimes. But the identity of these people and the nature of these accusations have not been made public.