The Manhattan grand jury has issued indictments against former president Donald Trump for crimes related to his payment of $130,000 in hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels and falsifying business records to cover up the payment. Trump has become the first president in U.S. history to be indicted for criminal charges.
Trump allegedly falsified business records in reimbursing his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 election to keep quiet about an affair she says they had years earlier. Trump denies the affair. Prosecutors are also investigating whether Trump allegedly falsified the records in furtherance of another alleged crime, possibly related to campaign finance issues.
Key Players in the Case
Trump claimed initially that he didn’t know about the payment to Daniels, only to admit later that he authorized Cohen to make it. He described the reimbursement to Cohen as a “monthly retainer".
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is a porn actress. She said she met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 and had sex with him. She was 27 at the time, and Trump was 60.
Cohen was a longtime confidant, personal lawyer and self-described “fixer” for Trump. He is the one who paid Stormy Daniels the hush money and was later reimbursed by Trump.
After months of trying to protect Trump and denying that Trump new about the payments, Cohen admitted in 2018 to breaking campaign finance laws in arranging the payment to Daniels and a separate payment to another woman. He also admitted that Trump ordered the payments. He served time in prison after pleading guilty in two federal cases.
Alvin Bragg is the prosecutor leading the investigation of the Daniels payment. He was elected district attorney of New York County in 2021. While Bragg will prosecute the case against Trump, a new jury of Trump's peers will ultimately decide his guilt or innocence. Bragg offered Trump a chance to testify before the grand jury before the grand jury decided to issue the 32 indictments against Trump.
Allen Weisselberg is the former top financial officer for Trump’s business. Cohen has said that Weisselberg arranged to reimburse him for the payment to Daniels.
Weisselberg has previously pleaded guilty to tax fraud, grand larceny and other crimes in an unrelated case focusing on financial crimes by the Trump Organization.
David Pecker allegedly helped broker the $130,000 payment to Daniels. He was committed to intercepting negative stories about Trump and keeping them from hitting national news. He worked as the chief executive of American Media, the publishing company that owned the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper.