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Former President Donald Trump will surrender to law enforcement officials if he is indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment he allegedly made to porn actress Stormy Daniels, according to Trump’s attorney.
The remarks from attorney Joseph Tacopina come in response to a report from NBC News that said federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were analyzing security assessments and making plans to prepare for the possibility that Trump will be indicted as early as next week.
Fox News reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office asked for a meeting with law enforcement officials to “discuss logistics for some time next week, which would mean that they are anticipating an indictment next week.”
Tacopina told the New York Daily News that if Trump is indicted, “there won’t be a standoff at Mar-a-Lago with Secret Service and the Manhattan DA’s office.”
Tacopina later told CNBC that they “will follow normal procedures if it gets to that point.”
The New York Times reported earlier this week that it would be highly unlikely at this point for prosecutors to not seek an indictment given the amount of relevant witnesses questioned in front of the grand jury and the offer they made to Trump to come in and testify in front of the jury.
The case involves an alleged payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen admits he made to Daniels during the presidential race to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 tryst between Trump and Daniels. Cohen pleaded guilty to related charges and served time in prison.
Although non-disclosure agreements are legal, the potential problem for Trump centers around how his company reimbursed Cohen. The payment was listed as a legal expense and the company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist and the reimbursement was not related to any legal services from Cohen, thus setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records. The report said that Trump personally signed several of the checks to Cohen while he was serving as president.
Prosecutors can elevate the misdemeanor to a felony if they can prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”
Prosecutors argue that the second crime is that the $130,000 hush payment was an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was used to stop a story for the purpose of benefiting his presidential campaign.