Manhattan D.A. Subpoenas Trump Organization Over Stormy Daniels Hush Money

Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the prosecutor in Manhattan, revives an investigation into payments to two women during the 2016 campaign.

Prosecutors in Manhattan summoned President Trump’s family business on Thursday, according to a briefing on the issue of a new investigation into the company’s role in hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The writ of summons issued by the office of the prosecutor in Manhattan demanded that the Trump organization provide documents on money that were used to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who said she was having an affair with Mr. . Trump.

The investigation of the prosecutor’s office, which is at an early stage, is investigating whether senior managers of the company have submitted false business information about the silence, which would be a state crime, the people said.

Marc L. Mukasey, lawyer for the Trump organization, called the research a “political hit job.”

“It is just harassment of the president, his family and his company, with subpoenas as weapons. We will respond if necessary,” said Mr. Mukasey.

The investigation will focus on a $ 130,000 payment that Michael D. Cohen, the then lawyer and fixer of the president, Mrs. Daniels gave. Mr. Cohen also helped arrange a tabloid media company to pay for the Playboy model Karen McDougal, a second woman who said she had an affair with the president. The disclosure of the payments led to a scandal that threatened to derail the Trump presidency.

The office of the prosecutor in Manhattan on Thursday separately summoned the media company American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer.

The subpoena by Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the prosecutor in Manhattan, came just weeks after the Trump organization seemed to ward off federal control of the same payments.

The US law firm in Manhattan, which last year accused Mr Cohen of breaching campaign finance in the hush-money case, revealed last month in a lawsuit that prosecutors had “effectively” completed their investigation, indicating that it it was unlikely that they file extra costs.

But state law makes it a crime to falsify company documents, giving the office of the prosecutor in Manhattan another opportunity.

The Trump organization has reimbursed Mr Cohen for his payment to Mrs Daniels. People said that the prosecutors are investigating whether the company – and one of its senior executives – subsequently incorrectly mentioned the compensation as legal costs.

After the groundwork laid in the federal investigation, the office of the public prosecutor is expected to examine the company’s higher ranks, although it is unclear whether the investigation will reach the president. Mr. Trump has denied the issues and any abuses.

Although Mr. Cohen said that he had arranged the silence in the direction of Mr. Trump – and federal prosecutors have since repeated that accusation in court cases – less public is known about the role of the president. Cohen is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in Otisville, N.Y.

A spokesperson for American Media Inc., the media company that was summoned, did not respond to a request for comment. The company bought the rights to Mrs. McDougal’s story about an affair with Mr. Trump and has never executed the story. The company, whose leader was friends with Mr. Trump, cooperated in the federal investigation and received a non-prosecution agreement.

The office of the public prosecutor initially considered starting the investigation almost a year ago, after Mr Cohen had pleaded guilty. Mr.’s office Vance was silent at the request of the Federal Prosecutors.

Mr Vance’s latest investigation into the hush-money case could result in a legal and political dilemma.

Mr Trump’s lawyers will try to portray Mr Vance, a democrat, as a partisan attack. Earlier this year, a similar criticism was voiced by a lawyer for Paul J. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign president. After Mr. Manafort was convicted of federal crimes, Mr. Vance’s office accused him of state crimes in the hope that he would still be in jail if he received a presidential grace.

But if Mr. Vance refuses to file a complaint in the hush-money case, the decision may fuel the criticism that he has hit the Trump family. His office previously refused two of Mr.’s children. To accuse Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who were criminal investigated in 2012 for allegations that they had misled buyers interested in the Trump SoHo hotel condominium project.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Vance declined to comment on Thursday’s summons.

Even if the new investigation eventually leads to charges, state law would limit the severity of the sentence. An indictment for submitting false business information can constitute a crime. It will only be a crime if prosecutors can prove that the filing was done to commit or hide another crime.

It is unclear whether, according to law, prosecutors can name federal campaign financing as the other crime.

Written by Tommy Kilmer

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