- Michael Cohen is set to testify next week before the Trump “hush money” grand jury in Manhattan.
- It could be a final step before a vote on an indictment charging Trump with falsifying business records.
- If indicted, Trump would become the first former president to ever face criminal charges.
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s fixer-turned-nemesis, will be the final witness to testify next week before a Manhattan grand jury weighing possible felony falsifying business records charges against the former president, Insider has learned.
Details of the timing of Cohen’s testimony was first reported by The New York Times.
Cohen is expected to present a detailed chronology of a 2016 “hush-money” payment made by Trump to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, an account corroborated by documents, phone records, and email communications, Cohen has said.
Trump advisors Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway have also appeared at the district attorney’s offices in recent days.
—Laura Italiano (@Italiano_Laura) March 11, 2023
Next week’s testimony could be the last step before a possible felony indictment against Trump for an alleged scheme to impact the 2016 election by secretly funneling Daniels $130,000 to ensure she stayed silent about an affair she claimed to have with Trump a decade earlier, according to two people with knowledge of the prosecution’s intentions.
Bragg must authorize his prosecutors to request a grand jury vote before an indictment could be voted on. It’s unclear if or when that will happen.
Trump may be accused of falsely designating the payment as a “retainer” to Cohen when it was really an undeclared campaign expenditure, one 0f the people told Insider, asking to stay anonymous to discuss the sensitive matter.
Cohen met all day Friday with Manhattan prosecutors working on District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush-money inquiry — assumedly in preparation for his testimony.
He seemed in high spirits on the way into the DA’s offices in the morning, calling Trump a “liar” who would never, himself, testify before the grand jury but appeared somber and tired on the way out six hours later. After some two months of very public arrivals and departures from the DA’s office — and statements praising Bragg and criticizing Trump — Cohen and his lawyer were circumspect on Friday afternoon.
“We were very impressed with the professionalism of this group of prosecutors, and thank Mr. Bragg and the entire team,” said attorney Lanny Davis, who accompanied Cohen to the DA sit-down.
“Aside from that, we will have no comment about anything from this point on,” he told reporters waiting outside the DA’s office. “Other than we’re sorry we kept you all waiting so long.”
Asked by Insider if he was tired from the long day, Cohen said, “Yeah, it’s been a long day. I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with family.”
He added, “I’m really going to be taking a little time now, to stay silent, and allow the DA to build their case and to do the things that they need to do.”
Cohen declined to say when — or even whether — he would be coming back to the DA’s offices but in recent weeks, he has said publicly that he believes an indictment is coming “soon.”
A lawyer for Trump declined to comment on the grand jury or on the possibility of an indictment. Bragg’s office has remained mum on the grand jury process and the continuing probe.