Manhattan DA subpoenas Trump Organization in hush money investigation
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office sent subpoenas to the Trump Organization and American Media Inc. on Thursday.
The subpoena to the Trump Organization is seeking communications between the company and representatives for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the women who alleged they had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago, according to a person familiar with the matter. AMI also received a subpoena, according to a second person.
Prosecutors are looking into whether the Trump Organization filed any false business records in how it accounted for the reimbursement of the payments to Michael Cohen, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
Marc L. Mukasey, attorney for the Trump Organization, said on Thursday, “This is a political hit job. It’s just harassment of the President, his family and his business, using subpoenas and leaks as weapons. We will respond as appropriate.” AMI did not comment on its subpoena from the Manhattan DA’s office.
A spokesman for District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined comment.
The investigations by state prosecutors, first reported by The New York Times, come after federal prosecutors announced they had closed their investigation a few weeks ago.
This is the second time Vance has stepped into an investigation swirling around the President after federal prosecutors completed their own investigation.
In March, Vance’s office announced a 16-count indictment charging Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, with state crimes. That announcement came just one hour after Manafort had been sentenced on multiple financial and lobbying charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Federal prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District in New York investigated the hush money after a referral from Mueller.
For months, federal prosecutors examined whether officials from both companies broke the law, including in their effort to reimburse Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer.
The Trump Organization was not charged with any wrongdoing by federal prosecutors. In that investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations in connection with the payments to the two women. He admitted to paying $130,000 to Daniels to keep her from going public with her allegation before the 2016 election. Investigators are considering talking to Cohen as a part of the inquiry.
American Media Inc. signed a non-prosecution agreement and agreed to cooperate to avoid federal charges.
As part of the agreement, AMI admitted to making a payment of $150,000 in cooperation with some members of Trump’s campaign in order to prevent McDougal’s claims of an affair from becoming pubic. AMI Chairman David Pecker, a longtime friend of Trump’s, met with Cohen “and at least one other member of the campaign” in August of 2015, the agreement states.
The reported agreement drew widespread attention after The New Yorker detailed the “catch and kill” tabloid practice, wherein a publication purchases the rights to a story to make sure it isn’t made public.
McDougal’s contract granted AMI “exclusive ownership of her account of any romantic, personal, or physical relationship she has ever had with any ‘then-married man,’ ” The New Yorker reported.
CNN’s Tom Kludt contributed to this report.