© Reuters. Workers remove scaffolding at the New York Courthouse at 80 Centre Street where Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg continues his investigation into former U.S. President Donald Trump, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 18, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew
By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York City prosecutor who was publicly criticized for declining to charge Donald Trump last year now appears very close to bringing the first criminal indictment against a former president in U.S. history.
Trump on Saturday said that he expects to be arrested this week on charges by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is investigating whether Trump falsified business records by concealing his reimbursement of his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
The payment, made during the waning weeks of Trump’s 2016 campaign for the White House, was intended to secure Daniels’ silence about an affair she said she had with Trump, prosecutors said. A spokesman for Bragg declined to comment on Saturday.
Trump said on his Truth Social platform that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and called on his supporters to protest.
Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, did not say he had been formally notified of forthcoming charges and did not discuss the possible charges in the post.
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after a fiery speech in which he falsely claimed his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
Bragg, a Democrat, took office in January 2022, after his predecessor indicted the former president’s family company and its top financial executive over a 15-year-tax fraud scheme.
A prosecutor leading that probe, Mark Pomerantz, resigned in February 2022 after Bragg declined to charge Trump himself for financial crimes. Pomerantz has publicly criticized Bragg’s decision not to bring charges and published a book about the investigation.
Pomerantz has said concerns about potentially losing the case should be weighed against the possibility of “promoting disrespect for the law” by not bringing charges when warranted.
Bragg has defended his decision.
“I bring hard cases when they are ready,” Bragg said in a Feb. 7 news conference. “Mark Pomerantz’s case simply was not ready. So I said to my team, let’s keep working.”
Trump has called the probe a “witch…
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