Trump faces criminal charges in New York, a first for a former US president
Bragg’s office last year won the criminal conviction of the businessman-turned-politician’s real estate company for tax fraud.
Trump also faces two criminal investigations by a special counsel appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland and one by a local prosecutor in Georgia.
Trump served as president from 2017 to 2021, governing as a right-wing populist. He was impeached twice by the House of Representatives, once in 2019 over his conduct regarding Ukraine and again in 2021 over the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters. He was acquitted by the Senate both times.
Trump falsely claims that his 2020 re-election loss to Democrat Joe Biden was the result of widespread voting fraud.
He leads his early rivals for his party’s nomination, holding the support of 44 per cent of Republicans in a March Reuters/Ipsos poll, compared with 30 per cent support for his nearest rival, Florida Governer Ron DeSantis, who has yet to announce his candidacy. Biden is expected to seek re-election.
Trump in 2018 initially disputed knowing anything about the payment to Daniels. He later acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a “simple private transaction.”
Cohen testified before the Manhattan grand jury, as did David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer. The tabloid publication bought the rights to McDougal’s story about her alleged relationship with Trump for US$150,000 but never published it, a method known as “catch and kill” used to bury damaging information about a third party.
In the case that led to the conviction of the Trump Organization on tax fraud charges, Bragg declined to charge Trump himself with financial crimes related to his business practices, prompting two prosecutors who worked on the probe to resign.
Among Trump’s ongoing legal woes are a criminal investigation led by Fani Willis, the Democratic district attorney in Georgia’s Fulton County, into whether he unlawfully tried to overturn his 2020 election defeat in that state.
Special counsel Jack Smith is separately investigating Trump’s handling of classified government documents after leaving office and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.