Trump has 'no plans' to participate in Manhattan grand jury probe, attorney says
(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump has “no plans” to participate in a Manhattan grand jury investigation into a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, Trump attorney Joe Tacopina told George Stephanopoulos Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“We have no plans on participating in that proceeding,” Tacopina said. “Decision needs to be made still. There’s been no deadline set, so we’ll wait and see.”
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been investigating whether Trump falsified business records in connection with a $130,000 payment Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels before the 2016 election, which prosecutors allege was to keep her from talking about a long-denied affair, sources familiar with the matter have told ABC News.
The DA’s office informed Trump last week of his right to testify before a grand jury in the probe, a possible signal that the DA is moving toward a charging decision.
Tacopina said another Trump attorney, Susan Necheles, who is leading the case, has met with prosecutors.
Asked if he expects an indictment for Trump, Tacopina said, “I expect justice to prevail. If that’s the case, George, there shouldn’t be an indictment.”
“Clearly this prosecutor and his prosecutors’ office has … an agenda,” he said. “They’ve scoured his personal life and business life for seven years to try to find something.”
Tacopina framed the funds as an extortion payment, and repeatedly said the payment was not directly related to Trump’s campaign.
“I don’t know since when we’ve decided to start prosecuting extortion victims,” Tacopina said. “He’s vehemently denied this affair, but he had to pay money because there was going to be an allegation that was going to be publicly embarrassing, regardless of the campaign.”
Asked if the payment was properly noted in the Trump Organization records, or if a false record was made saying it was for legal representation, Tacopina said, “There was absolutely no false records made, to my knowledge.”
“It’s not a contribution to his campaign,” Tacopina said. “He made this with personal funds to prevent something coming out false but embarrassing to himself and his family’s young son. That’s not a campaign finance violation, not by any stretch.”
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