- The Manhattan DA’s office has been probing Trump’s role in an illegal, 2016 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels.
- Prosecutors offered Trump a chance to testify before a grand jury next week, per The New York Times.
- Such invitations are rarely accepted, but signal a grand jury may be close to voting on an indictment.
Manhattan prosecutors recently offered former President Donald Trump a chance to testify before a New York grand jury that is probing his role in money paid to silence an adult film actress on the eve of the 2016 election, The New York Times reported.
Attorneys for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In a statement to ABC News’s John Santucci, a Trump spokesperson said: “The Manhattan District Attorney’s threat to indict President Trump is simply insane. For the Past five years, the DA’s office has been on a Witch Hunt, investigating every aspect of President Trump’s life, and they’ve come up empty at every turn — and now this. The fact that after their intensive investigation the DA is even considering a new political attack is a clear exoneration of President Trump in all areas. President Trump was the victim of extortion then, just as he is now. It’s an embarrassment to the Democrat prosecutors, and it’s an embarrassment to New York City.”
Four people with knowledge of the case told the Times that Trump was invited to testify next week, a sign that a decision by District Attorney Alvin Bragg may be imminent on whether to ask the grand jury to vote on an indictment.
Insider has independently confirmed that Trump is the target of the grand jury, which is hearing evidence of possible low-level felony charges of falsifying business records in connection with the payment.
The grand jury has been hearing evidence since January on Trump’s involvement in the $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who was threatening to go public with details of an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied having a relationship with Daniels.
The investigation’s pace has intensified this week.
On Monday, Hope Hicks, Trump’s 2016 campaign press secretary and later his White House communications director, met with prosecutors.
On Tuesday, Michael Cohen, who brokered the hush-money scheme as Trump’s former lawyer, met with prosecutors. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for several crimes, including tax offenses and his role as “bag man” for the payment, which federal prosecutors saw as an illegal campaign contribution.
On Wednesday, Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s 2016 campaign and became a trusted White House advisor, met with prosecutors.
Both Conway and Hicks have first-hand knowledge of Trump’s involvement in the payment, which federal prosecutors have said includes the then-president signing checks directly compensating Cohen for fronting the money to Daniels’ lawyer.
It’s standard to offer the target of a grand jury the opportunity to voluntarily testify. These invitations are rarely accepted because anything the witness says can be used to impeach them should they take the stand at trial.
It’s even less likely that Trump would come in involuntarily. That would mean issuing him a subpoena, which comes with immunity.