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Stormy Daniels meets NYC prosecutors probing Trump as Michael Cohen wraps up testimony before hush money grand jury

By Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News,

2023-03-15

Porn star Stormy Daniels met with Manhattan prosecutors investigating Donald Trump on Wednesday as their long-running investigation into the former president nears a possible indictment.

Daniels’ lawyer Clark Brewster confirmed the virtual meeting in a tweet .

“At the request of the Manhattan DA’s office, Stormy Daniels and I met with prosecutors today. Stormy responded to questions and has agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed,” Brewster said.

Daniels, author and adult film actor, followed up with her own tweet thanking her lawyer for “helping me in our continuing fight for truth and justice.”

A spokeswoman for Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg declined to comment or confirm the meeting.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is central to the hush money deal prosecutors are believed to be exploring with a grand jury. Her meeting with prosecutors came as ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen finished testifying before a panel of New Yorkers hearing evidence against the ex-president.

After more than 20 meetings with DA prosecutors spread out over three years, Cohen first appeared before the grand jury impaneled in January on Monday. He’s believed to be among the final witnesses prosecutors have summoned in their investigation as it winds down.

Speaking to reporters before and after his testimony, Cohen took swipes at a lawyer for Trump. He said “each and every one” of the grand jurors hearing evidence against his former boss asked him a question.

“I’m relieved that my role is now, for the time being, over. I have complied with every request that was asked of me by the district attorney’s office,” Cohen said.

The longtime Trump fixer-turned-foe did federal prison time and lost his law license for the 2016 hush money payments and other crimes, serving half his sentence at his Trump Park Ave. apartment. He said the $130,000 payment to Daniels — and the $150,000 he helped the publisher of the National Enquirer pay Playboy model Karen McDougal to kill her story — were intended to buy their silence about alleged sexual trysts with Trump. Trump denies either encounter took place.

In his 2018 guilty plea , Cohen said the payments were made at Trump’s direction to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

He told lawmakers in 2019 that he borrowed the hush money through a home equity line of credit and wired it through an LLC. He said Trump and his real estate business paid him back in installments of monthly checks with interest. The feds considered charging Trump but in the end decided not to, fearing political blowback , according to a book by former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, which cited interviews with members of the prosecuting team.

Asked whether he believed that he provided the most detailed account of the hush money deal yet on Wednesday, Cohen said, “I’m certain of it.”

Grand jury proceedings are confidential, and Manhattan prosecutors have not said what the panel is examining. Sources connected to the case say the DA is considering charging Trump with falsifying business records — based on how he logged the payback to Cohen to the tax man — and covering it up to hide a second crime, which is a felony.

That approach has never been tried in court, legal experts previously told the the Daily News.

On Monday, a lawyer consulting Trump in the probe, Joe Tacopina , said the former president would not accept an invitation to testify before the grand jury, which he received last week. Prosecutors typically extend the courtesy when nearing a charging decision.

Trump has recently described himself as an “extortion victim” in relation to the hush money deal with Daniels, an allegation she denies. Earlier this week, the ex-prez, who’s seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said former longtime Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau would be “spinning in his grave” at Bragg’s investigation.

The DA’s office has been investigating Trump and his business dealings for three years. In addition to Cohen and Daniels, prosecutors have recently called longtime Trump aides like Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks for questioning in the DA’s downtown offices.

When she testified at her ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti’s unrelated federal trial last year, Daniels took issue with her 2006 sexual encounter with Trump at Lake Tahoe golf tournament being described as an “affair.”

“Because it was not romantic,” Daniels said. “I don’t consider getting cornered coming out of a bathroom to be an affair.”

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