It appears to be a cold case: A potential federal prosecution of President Donald Trump over alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels has not been revived and is reportedly unlikely to go forward, according to several unnamed purported law enforcement sources and one attorney involved in the case, who pronounced the probe “dead.”
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who served jail time in connection with related campaign finance law violations, has said he’s had no contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City for about two years even though he supposedly was poised to testify against his former boss.
On behalf of Trump, Cohen allegedly orchestrated six-figure payments to adult film actress Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal so they would not go public with claims that they had extramarital affairs with the future president.
Trump, who prosecutors reportedly identified as “Individual-1” in legal documents, denied any romantic involvement with either woman and also rejected the premise that the cash transfers violated campaign laws.
Although there was some speculation that a potential prosecution could ramp up once Trump left office and lost his presidential immunity, an unidentified attorney, as alluded to above, who represented a witness in the matter, told the Associate Press that the investigation was “dead,” particularly since prosecutors have returned some evidence that they had gathered. That would be an unusual move in an active investigation.
Prosecutors also apparently had questions about Cohen’s reliability on the witness stand.
“Prosecutors also believed it was far from clear that Trump could be convicted of a campaign finance crime, even if a jury believed Cohen’s allegations that he directed the hush-money payments,” the AP reported. ” Several assigned to the case also have left the U.S. attorney’s office — departures that may have been delayed if they were eying a criminal case against a former president.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has yet to make a formal statement about the status of the probe. That aside, Trump is not in the clear for potential legal entanglements because vindictive Democrat prosecutors at the state level (and possibly at the federal tier) may go after him and his family on other grounds related to their business interests. And the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate is impending. In general, many would argue that recent history suggests that the legal system seems to have become weaponized against Republicans.
Parenthetically, non-disclosure agreements, and private settlements of various kinds, are common in celebrity circles, and Donald Trump was a high-profile celebrity before he entered politics in 2015. The irony, perhaps, is that most of the celebrities who buy the silence of others to cover up various kinds of misdeeds and scandals are liberals.
Daniels claimed on Twitter that she is still pursuing a defamation claim against the ex-POTUS, adding that “I’m not done with his orange a**!” You may recall that Daniels’ original lawyer, MSNBC and CNN favorite Michel Avenatti, is due to be sentenced in April 2021 for various financial crimes.
Daniels is scheduled for a sit-down with Michael Cohen on his podcast (it seems everyone has a podcast) on February 9.
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