Trump invited to appear before grand jury in hush-money probe


Donald Trump has been told he can testify before a grand jury in Manhattan as part of an investigation into hush money paid to an adult film star who said she’d slept with the former president, according to two of his attorneys.

Trump was not subpoenaed and is not being forced to appear in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office probe, the defense attorneys told NBC News on Thursday. Trump’s lawyers did not indicate whether he would testify.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump was told he could appear before the grand jury next week, and cited sources saying the DA’s office had signaled to Trump’s lawyers that he could face criminal charges.

A spokesperson for the DA’s office declined to comment to NBC News.

In a statement Thursday, a spokesperson for Trump blasted the office, casting any potential indictment as a political attack.

“The Manhattan District Attorney’s threat to indict President Trump is simply insane. For the past five years, the DA’s office has been on a Witch Hunt, investigating every aspect of President Trump‘s life, and they’ve come up empty at every turn — and now this,” the spokesperson said. “The fact that after their intensive investigation the DA is even considering a new political attack is a clear exoneration of President Trump in all areas.”

Chuck Rosenberg, an NBC News legal analyst, said in an interview that the invitation to appear indicates that the investigation is near its end and that prosecutors are “seriously considering charges.”

“If the Manhattan district attorney was simply shutting the case down, that’s easy to do without inviting Mr. Trump to testify,” said Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor.

NBC News reported in January that prosecutors in New York had convened a grand jury in their investigation into hush money paid to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making the illegal payment to Daniels for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election, saying he did so on Trump’s orders.

The yearslong investigation into Trump over the payment has spanned the terms of two district attorneys, with Alvin Bragg taking the helm of the office and the probe in 2021.

In December, a jury in a separate probe from Bragg’s office found the Trump Organization guilty of all charges in a 15-year tax fraud scheme that prosecutors said was orchestrated by the company’s top executives.

Allen Weisselberg, a star witness in the case for the prosecution and former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was sentenced in January to five months in prison for his role in the scheme. Trump was not charged in the case.

Last year, Trump was called on to testify in New York Attorney General Letitia James‘ civil probe into the Trump Organization’s business practices. During the four-hour deposition, Trump repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. A source with knowledge of that deposition said Trump took the Fifth more than 440 times.

Vaughn Hillyard contributed.


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