Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg unsealed a 34-count indictment against former U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday related to hush money payments made during his 2016 campaign. The indictment alleges that Trump directed his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to make illegal payments to two women, including adult film actress Stormy Daniels, in exchange for their silence about their alleged affairs with Trump.
According to the indictment, Trump orchestrated a “catch and kill” scheme with AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, to silence a second woman, who is widely believed to be Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. The scheme involved a $150,000 payment to the woman, which waThe indictment also alleges that a former Trump Tower doorman was paid $30,000 by AMI to stay silent about a false story he claimed to have about a child Trump fathered out of wedlock. Prosecutors allege that Cohen advised AMI to keep the doorman under a non-disclosure agreement until after the election.s later reimbursed by Trump through a shell company.
The 34 counts in the indictment are related to smaller payments made by the Trump Organization and Trump personally to reimburse Cohen for the hush money payments. The payments were characterized as legal services under a retainer agreement with Cohen, which the Manhattan D.A. claims is the felony falsifying of business records.
The indictment alleges that Trump’s motive for making the hush money payments was to prevent the release of damaging stories and to cover up his involvement in doing so. Prosecutors also claim that after Trump won the 2016 election, he invited AMI CEO David Pecker to the inauguration and later to dinner at the White House to thank him for his help.
Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, spoke outside the courthouse following Tuesday’s arraignment and dismissed the indictment as a “big nothing sandwich.” However, prosecutors say that Cohen pleaded guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence and served over a year in federal prison and another 18 months on home confinement.
This latest indictment adds to the legal troubles that Trump has faced since leaving office. It remains to be seen how this case will proceed in court and what impact it will have on Trump’s political future.