Payment to buy a porn star’s silence just days before the 2016 presidential election could lead to the first criminal charge against Donald Trump in New York State Court. Something unprecedented for a former president in the history of the United States.

The former chairman donald trump assured this Saturday will be “arrested” in three days and calls on his supporters to protest, for a possible charge of being paid just before the 2016 election to buy a porn actress’s silence.

1. Why did Stormy Daniels receive $130,000?

At a key moment in the 2016 presidential campaign, there were intense behind-the-scenes negotiations to avoid embarrassing and potentially damaging leaks for the Republican nominee.

In August, the tabloid The National Enquirer – whose boss is close to Donald Trump – bought model Karen McDougal for $150,000 for the rights to her story about a relationship she says she had with the billionaire.

The aim was to prevent their claims from coming to light through a technique known as “catch and kill” in the United States, where confidentiality clauses are common.

Meanwhile, porn star Stephanie Clifford, Nicknamed Stormy Daniels, she also wanted to monetize her story with Trump, which she says took place in 2006when he was already married to his wife Melania.

The newspaper put Daniels in touch with one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen. In late October 2016, he paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement.

The payment was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in January 2018, but Cohen and Trump refuted the information, and the former president (2017-2021) repeatedly denied having a relationship with Daniels.

2. Undeclared campaign gift?

Cohen watched as the legal fence closed around him and eventually cooperated with law enforcement. He pleaded guilty to tax and banking fraud in 2018 in Manhattan federal court, as well as violating campaign finance laws.

“Cohen made those payments” to Daniels to buy the actress’ silence “for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election,” the federal prosecutor said at the time.

In addition, the Trump Organization returned the amount paid to Daniels to Cohen and the US Justice Department considers this an undeclared campaign gift to Trump, something that violates election financing laws.

December 2018, Michael Cohen claimed to have acted on Trump’s orders and was sentenced to three years in prison.

3. Possible charges against Trump?

“There is nothing criminal about the payment itself. What is illegal is falsifying a company’s business records,” John Coffee, a law professor at Columbia University who specializes in financial and white-collar crime, told AFP.

“The Trump Organization is a business” and the refunds to Michael Cohen were “declared as cover for legal fees,” it adds. False statements, according to US justice.

If prosecutors manage to convince the jury that the forgery was made to conceal another crime — such as an unreported campaign gift — this offense could become a misdemeanor, which the expert says carries a prison sentence of up to four years.

But Coffee says this argument isn’t necessarily easy to prove in court.

4. How does Donald Trump defend himself?

Donald Trump assured his Truth Social platform on Saturday that he would be “arrested” on Tuesday and called on his supporters to demonstrate against his possible indictment by a grand jury of the New York State Attorney’s Office for Manhattan. , Democrat Alvin Bragg.

In each of the issues on which he is under investigation, Trump denounces a political “witch hunt” by Democratic magistrates, especially New York State Attorney General Letitia James (local Attorney General, ndlr).

In the case related to Stormy Daniels, Trump’s lawyers also present him as a victim of “extortion” by the actress.

Another angle is the reliability and reputation of Michael Cohen, a key prosecution witness and sworn enemy of Donald Trump. The lawyer was also convicted of lying to Congress in its investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

5. What implications for Trump’s presidential campaign?

A final conviction of Trump in New York court would not legally prevent Trump from proceeding with his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in 2024, according to John Coffee.

“This would have a stigmatizing effect. to what point? I don’t know,” said the professor. He believes the former president will do anything to delay the trial, while his party’s primary rivals would like to see him convicted.