Posted: Monday, March 20, 2023. 10:40 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Ahead of a potential indictment in his native New York, former U.S. President Donald Trump has been calling for mass protests against his arrest, per the BBC.
However, his lawyer said there had been no communication from law enforcement and the former president’s post was based on media reports. If he is indicted, it would be the first criminal case ever brought against a former U.S. president.
The case focuses on alleged hush money paid on Trump’s behalf by his now-former lawyer to adult entertainment star Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Trump, seeking the nomination of the Republican Party for U.S. president in 2024, faces multiple investigations in which he denies wrongdoing.
Past efforts to investigate him, including two impeachment trials, the Russia investigation, and the Mar-a-Lago raid, have tended to make him more popular with his base, so an indictment could have a similar effect. The district attorney’s office has not yet commented.
Allies including Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, have hit out at the investigation, calling it “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA [district attorney]”. In a tweet, he also promised to investigate whether federal money was being used to interfere in elections “with politically motivated prosecutions”.
The Stormy Daniels case is about how Trump reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen after Cohen paid Daniels US$130,000. The record for the payment reimbursing Cohen says the payment was for “legal fees”. Prosecutors may say this amounts to Trump falsifying business records, a misdemeanour in New York.
Donald Trump faces a separate criminal investigation over efforts to overturn his narrow loss in the state of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election – though it is not known if the former president is being directly investigated. The Department of Justice is also looking at whether classified government documents were handled incorrectly after Trump left office, as well as broader efforts to undermine the results of the presidential election three years ago – including the 6 January 2021 attack.
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