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New York prosecutor’s statement of facts details Trump’s alleged ‘catch and kill’ hush-money payment scheme

 

Former President Donald Trump appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in New York. Trump surrendered to authorities ahead of his arraignment on criminal charges stemming from a hush money payment to a porn actor during his 2016 campaign. (Steven Hirsch/New York Post via AP, Pool)

On the day of former President Donald Trump’s arraignment, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office provided extensive details about his alleged plot to cover up hush money payments ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg took the case to a grand jury, which indicted Trump on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in connection with payouts to three people: adult film actress Stormy Daniels, Playboy model Karen MacDougal, and a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story that Trump had fathered a child out of wedlock. Trump and others engaged in a so-called “catch and kill” scheme to keep stories about the then-candidate’s extramarital affairs quiet before the election, prosecutors alleged.

“From August 2015 to December 2017, the Defendant orchestrated a scheme with others to influence the 2016 presidential election by identifying and purchasing negative information about him to suppress its publication and benefit the Defendant’s electoral prospects,” the government’s statement of facts says. “In order to execute the unlawful scheme, the participants violated election laws and made and caused false entries in the business records of various entities in New York. The participants also took steps that mischaracterized, for tax purposes, the true nature of the payments made in furtherance of the scheme.”

The payments were made by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who served prison time after pleading guilty to tax crimes and campaign finance violations. Prosecutors say that Trump and Cohen set up an elaborate repayment plan for legal services that Cohen did not actually provide.

Trump appeared for his highly anticipated and widely-covered arraignment Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty and did not speak with reporters.

Read the statement of facts, below.

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