The Trump Organization and two senior officials at the company may soon face criminal charges from the Manhattan district attorney’s office in New York over a hush-money payment the President’s former lawyer made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with President Donald Trump.
According to a New York Times report, investigators led by District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. would look into how the Trump Organization accounted for its reimbursement to the lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 he paid to Daniels.
Sources familiar with the matter said that investigators have not decided on the possible course of action or even whether they will pursue the charges against the company, which recorded the reimbursements as legal expense.
However, as part of his guilty plea, Cohen admitted on Tuesday that he in fact used the money to pay Daniels off, which could result in state charges against him. In that case, the President, who has considered pardoning some of his former associates, won’t have the power to do so.
Prosecutors said that Cohen issued false monthly invoices for $35,000 in “pursuant to retainer agreement,” which did not exist. The President’s former lawyer didn’t do any legal work for him, prosecutors added.
“On its face, it certainly would be problematic,” one official familiar with the district attorney’s office review told the Times, adding that such reimbursement scheme could be considered a felony under state law.
The official added that prosecutors have already reviewed the court documents containing the charges Cohen pleaded guilty to, which also provide some details about how two Trump Organization executives handled the reimbursements and recorded them as legal fees.
According to the official, Manhattan prosecutors are focused on whether business records were falsified, which represents a low-level felony.