A former lawyer for Donald Trump turned one of his worst enemies, Michael Cohen, testified before a grand jury in New York on Monday in an investigation into bribes to a porn actress, in which the former American president risk indictment. If decided, a criminal charge would be a first for a former president of the United States and a thorn in the side for Donald Trump on his way to a return to the White House after the presidential election of 2024.
Donald Trump "must be held accountable for his crap", Michael Cohen told several media when he arrived in court, saying he wanted to "tell the truth" and not want "revenge". His lawyer Lanny Davis, contacted by Agence France Presse, confirmed that his client "was questioned by the grand jury", a panel of citizens with broad investigative powers.
Michael Cohen was set to testify in the investigation into the $130,000 he paid in 2016 to porn actress Stormy Daniels - real name Stephanie Clifford - to buy her silence over an alleged relationship she allegedly had with Donald Trump. The payment had taken place two weeks before the presidential election won by the Republican against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The former lawyer had been sentenced, after pleading guilty, to three years in prison in particular for having orchestrated this payment in violation of the laws on the financing of electoral campaigns. He assured that he acted at the express request of the Republican candidate, who would have reimbursed him once he arrived at the White House.
Last Thursday, the New York Times and the Washington Post revealed that the Manhattan prosecutor's office had also invited Donald Trump to testify before the grand jury, which could mean that an indictment is near for the former president. Also according to the American media, Donald Trump could be charged with an offense of false accounting statements to conceal the payment to Stormy Daniels.
These charges could become heavier and become criminal if the prosecutors consider that the offense was intended to hide a violation of the rules of financing of the electoral campaigns, had also explained the New York Times.
After the revelations of the two newspapers, Donald Trump had denounced Thursday on his Truth Social network a "political witch hunt aimed at bringing down the candidate in the lead, (and this) by far, of the Republican Party" in the primary for the presidential election of 2024. "I never had an affair with Stormy Daniels," added Donald Trump, who is the subject of other court filings but has never been criminally charged.