The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has indicated to Donald Trump’s legal team that he could face criminal charges over hush money paid to an adult film star during the 2016 election, four people familiar with the matter told The New York Times on Thursday.
According to the sources, prosecutors have offered Trump the opportunity to testify before a grand jury case next week, which would be an unusual step if they weren’t planning to proceed with charges. It’s also a sign that a decision on an indictment is close, the Times noted. Sources later confirmed the offer to testify with The Washington Post.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not return HuffPost’s request for comment on the report.
The DA’s probe is the longest-running of multiple ongoing criminal investigations into Trump’s conduct and concerns a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
Following a bombshell Wall Street Journal report about the payment in 2018, longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen admitted to orchestrating the arrangement one month before the 2016 election in exchange for Daniels’ silence about the alleged affair. Cohen was later found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and sentenced to three years in federal prison, but he only served one year.
Trump, meanwhile, has denied that he directed Cohen to pay off Daniels and says the money for the payment did not come from his campaign.
A spokesperson for Trump released a statement reacting to the Times’ report, saying the district attorney’s “threat to indict President Trump is simply insane” and slamming the investigation as a “Witch Hunt.”
Just over a month ago, the Times reported that the Manhattan DA’s office was gearing up to present evidence to the grand jury assembled for the case and that it had contacted multiple people who’d worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The former president remains under investigation by the Justice Department for his alleged role In the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and for the large volume of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last year. A grand jury in Georgia is also investigating his alleged role in attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.