Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to testify before Manhattan grand jury


(NEW YORK) — Michael Cohen is expected to testify Monday before a grand jury in New York that is hearing evidence of former President Donald Trump’s alleged role in a hush payment to Stormy Daniels, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, paid $130,000 to the adult film star in the closing days of the 2016 campaign to keep her quiet about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump. Trump has denied the affair.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been investigating whether Trump falsified business records when the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen and then booked the reimbursement to Cohen as a legal expense. In recent weeks former Trump advisers Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway and several other witnesses have testified.

Cohen served prison time after he pleaded guilty to federal charges that included campaign finance violations related to the hush payment. Charging documents said Cohen acted at the behest of “Individual 1,” who he has identified as Trump.

The district attorney’s office recently informed Trump of his right to testify before the grand jury, sources have previously told ABC News. New York law requires so-called “cross notice” so potential defendants are afforded a chance to tell the grand jury their side of the story but the invitation is typically only extended if prosecutors are planning to move forward with an indictment.

It is not known whether Trump will appear. His lawyers have recently gone into the district attorney’s office to meet with prosecutors, according to sources.

A spokeswoman for the office declined to comment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has previously won the tax fraud convictions of Trump’s company and its former finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, but Trump himself has never been charged with a crime. The Trump Organization said it would appeal the conviction.

Trump has dismissed the investigation as a witch hunt and has insisted he did “absolutely nothing wrong.” His spokesman has called the possibility of an indictment in New York “simply insane.”

Trump is also awaiting charging decisions from two other entities: the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, is investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results on the state and a special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland is investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol and his handling of classified material.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.