Donald Trump’s son has decried the recent decision to indict his dad over a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com Thursday shortly after a Manhattan grand jury elected to charge Trump criminally for the $130,000 payment, Eric Trump slammed the ruling as a ‘ruthless attack’ and an example of ‘the decline of American Law.’
Still not specified, the charges serve as the first time in history that an ex-president has faced a criminal case – with the exact allegations expected to be announced in the coming days.
The decision – announced Thursday afternoon – further marks the end of a years long investigation into money paid to the adult movie star, allegedly to buy her silence.
It also marks a victory for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office was responsible for the probe into the payment, confirmed to be made by former Trump fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com shortly after a Manhattan grand jury elected to charge his father for the $130,000 payment, Eric Trump – seen here arriving at Trump Tower after the ruling – slammed it as a ‘ruthless attack’ and an example of ‘the decline of American Law’
Still not specified, the charges serve as the first time in history that an ex- president has faced a criminal case – with the exact allegations expected to be announced in the coming days The decision – announced Thursday afternoon – also marks the end of a years long investigation into $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels, allegedly to buy her silence about their affair
‘This is the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year,’ said the 39-year-old second son of the ex-head of state of the grand jury’s decision.
‘They are ruthlessly attacking my father because he dared challenge the political elite,’ he continued. ‘This is Exhibit A to the decline of American Law.’
Other members of the Trump clan reacted similarly to the decision, with eldest scion Donald Trump Jr taking to Instagram to bash the decision to his more than 7million followers.
Others to bash the decision included Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who told DailyMail.com the substance of the case against his old Republican Primary rival ‘utter garbage’.
Meanwhile it also emerged on Thursday New York prosecutors were looking to charge Trump over the payment made to another former Playboy model.
Bragg’s team has questioned grand jury witnesses about cash given to Karen McDougal, who was Playboy magazine ‘Playmate of the Year’ in 1998.
A grand jury has been hearing evidence about allegations that Donald Trump paid $130,000 to adult movie star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence over their affair
Meanwhile it also emerged on Thursday New York prosecutors were looking to charge Trump over a $150,000 payment made to another former Playboy model
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has been widely criticized for his handling of the case. Many say it has no legs and is driven by his own political hatred of Trump
Trump has always denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
The allegations came to light when Trump was in office, triggering a federal investigation.
In 2017 Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations, and he told a court in Manhattan that Trump had directed him to make the payments.
But the investigation disappeared from the headlines as other legal cases focused on Trump’s family business and his actions around the Jan. 6, 2001, riot hog the spotlight. But it never went away.
Although the Justice Department decided not to charge Trump and the Federal Election Commission was deadlocked over taking action over claims that the payment amounted to an undeclared campaign contribution, the Manhattan DA was still looking at the case.
And it took on fresh momentum early in 2023 when Cohen met with investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office and it emerged that a grand jury was hearing evidence.
Such hearings are conducted in secret. But one theory was that it was probing Trump for falsifying business records in connection with the payment, by allegedly misreporting a campaign donation as a legal fees.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is one of at least 75 liberal district attorneys who have received millions in funding from George Soros-backed political action committees
In 2017 former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including tax evasion, fraud and campaign finance violations, and he told a court in Manhattan that Trump had directed him to make the payments
Trump used a social media post on Saturday to call on his supporters to protest as he claimed he expects to be arrested as early as Tuesday. Aides say they do not know the timing
The New York Young Republicans Club is holding a protest on Monday evening. ‘Join us in peaceful protest of Alvin Bragg’s heinous attack on President Donald J. Trump … ‘ it says
That amounts to a misdemeanor. But that rises to a felony if it is done in conjunction with a second crime, such as a campaign finance violation.
Then in March Bragg’s office asked Trump to testify, in the clearest sign yet that he could be indicted.
The former president confirmed as much in a social media post at the weekend, calling on supporters to rise up in protest.
‘The far and away leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,’ he posted on his Truth Social platform. ‘Protest, take our nation back!’
The final act was reportedly the repeat testimony of Trump lawyer Robert Costello on Monday.
He was asked to appear by the former president’s legal team because he may have evidence that contradicted Cohen’s account. Privately Trump’s allies are confident that the case has little substance.
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An insider told DailyMail.com that it strengthens him politically, rallying the base in his support. ‘It is very obvious that this is helpful,’ he said.
He added that to get the second charge, elevating the case to a felony, prosecutors would have to show that Trump wanted to cover up an affair to help his campaign, even though the business mogul’s love life had been frontpage news in New York for decades.
‘Of course no one wants to be indicted, but it is helpful politically and legally it’s not even that much of a threat because the case is so weak and looks nakedly political,’ added the source.
Legal experts have also weighed in on the case’s failings.
‘Although it may be politically popular, the case is legally pathetic,’ said Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professof of Public Interest Law at the George Washington University in a column for The Hill.
‘Bragg is struggling to twist state laws to effectively prosecute a federal case long ago rejected by the Justice Department against Trump over his payment of @hush money@ to former stripper Stormy Daniels.
‘In 2018 (yes, that is how long this theory has been around), I wrote how difficult such a federal case would be under existing election laws. Now, six years later, the same theory may be shoehorned into a state claim.’
Meanwhile on Thursday it emerged Manhattan DA Bragg’s team has questioned grand jury witnesses about cash given to Karen McDougal, who was Playboy magazine ‘Playmate of the Year’ in 1998.
McDougal claims she had a ten-month affair with Trump which began in 2006. Trump’s office released a statement on Thursday branding the development a ‘hoax’.
Evidence about payments to McDougal could either be used to bring new charges or establish a ‘pattern of behavior’ for the Daniels case, sources told the Wall Street Journal which revealed the development.
A spokesman for Trump said: ‘It is sad to see radical Democrats and their partners in the media try to resurrect a dead witch hunt.
‘Just like with every other hoax that President Trump has been targeted with, there is no crime, except for election interference through weaponization of our justice system against President Trump and his supporters.’
Bragg’s office and McDougal’s lawyer hadn’t commented on the latest development on Thursday afternoon.
American Media Inc, the owner of the National Enquirer, paid $150,000 to McDougal in 2016 for exclusive rights to the story about her alleged affair with Trump, which he denies. But the purchase was a ‘catch and kill’ tactic to prevent the story being made public.
The Federal Election Commission later ruled that the company and its former president, David Pecker, struck the deal with Trump officials in order to suppress the story and ‘prevent it from influencing the election’.
The FEC ruling detailed how Pecker and AMI met with Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen to help make negative stories about Trump and his relationships go away.
And it concluded that AMI ‘coordinated’ with the Trump campaign in paying $150,000 to McDougal. Pecker gave evidence to the Trump grand jury on Monday.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk