Former President Donald Trump has found himself in new potential legal trouble as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has rebooted the investigation into the hush payments he arranged to adult film star Stormy Daniels to cover their alleged affair — a deal which sent his former attorney Michael Cohen to prison, but that legal experts had presumed Trump himself had escaped any punishment for.
It is not entirely clear why Bragg has decided at this time to pursue this case so seriously after years. However, wrote columnist Jen Rubin for The Washington Post, one former federal prosecutor has a theory.
As former prosecutor Barbara McQuade explained to Rubin, "the best explanation I can think of for a restart like this would be new evidence, rather than simply a reconsideration of the same evidence that caused Bragg to decline charges previously."
"It appears that [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen is a key witness," McQuade added. "In light of his prior convictions, prosecutors would want to corroborate his testimony with documentary evidence. Perhaps they have been able to obtain that corroborating evidence."
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This comes after reports earlier this month that Cohen met with prosecutors in Manhattan.
It also comes as Trump has faced a barrage of more indirect legal setbacks, including his company being convicted of fraud.
The upshot, said Rubin, is that "Those demanding that Trump face consequences for his misdeeds should breathe a sigh of relief that Bragg might be willing to bring a charge against the former president. Bragg might have concluded that proving Trump’s knowledge and criminal intent in the broader financial probes was too daunting a task, but that it is doable in the context of the hush payment."