Speculating potential Trump charges as country awaits indictment

Mar 21, 2023, 5:59 PM | Updated: Mar 22, 2023, 9:36 am


New York State Court officers arrange barricades while demonstrators gather outside Manhattan Criminal Court as a grand jury is expected to vote this week on whether to indict former U.S. President Donald Trump on March 21, 2023 in New York City. Trump said on a social media post that he expects to be arrested in connection with an investigation into a hush-money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels and called on his supporters to protest any such move. However, it is unclear if he will be arrested or not. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Dave Ross, co-host of Seattle’s Morning News on KIRO Newsradio, described this week as “indictment watch” — waiting to see if former President Donald Trump will be arrested for allegedly making a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Police in major cities across the United States are preparing for potential unrest.

“Do you think this is when the hammer finally drops?” Ross asked David Farenthold, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist currently with The New York Times.

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“I think that they probably want to keep us guessing,” Farenthold replied. “I think when it does happen, it’ll happen early in the morning. I think we will wake up to find out, especially you guys on the West Coast, that it happened. Doing it in the middle of the day seems crazy.”

This would be the first criminal case brought against a former U.S. president.

The alleged payment to Daniels, through his lawyer Michael Cohen, was for approximately $130,000 back in 2016. Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison in 2018 and was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine after pleading guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations. On Feb. 26, 2019, he was disbarred from practicing law in the state of New York.

“Cohen has said he believes Trump understood it was happening,” Farenthold said. “I think the charges they are going to make against Trump here is something like falsifying business records. Not the payoff exactly, but to falsify the records, internal records of the Trump Organization to cover up the fact that they had reimbursed Cohen for the payoff.”

Amidst the speculation, prosecutors have claimed falsifying business records is a misdemeanor offense in New York. But, as Farenthold pointed out, prosecutors could potentially allege Trump broke election law by falsifying records, which would be a felony.

Additionally, Trump has been engrossed in multiple legal battles. In January, he dropped his lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James while also receiving a sanction from a judge for nearly $1 million due to filing an excessive amount of “frivolous” suits.

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In Sept. 2022, James filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and the Trump Organization for engaging in years of financial fraud to obtain a host of economic benefits.

“That has become a civil case. The Trump organization has been sued by the New York Attorney General for a variety of accusations that he manipulated real estate valuations to get better deals on taxes and things like that,” Farenthold said. “I don’t expect we’ll see criminal charges related to the real estate deals, even if we see charges related disarm again.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Speculating potential Trump charges as country awaits indictment