Officials discuss security in case Trump is indicted

NEW YORK (AP) — Law enforcement officials in New York are taking precautions against the possibility that the former president donald trump could face arraignment in the coming weeks and appear in a Manhattan courtroom in an investigation into hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him, four law enforcement officials said on Friday.

There was no public announcement of a timeline for the grand jury’s secret work, including a possible vote on whether to indict the ex-president.

Law enforcement officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said authorities are only preparing in the event of an indictment. They described the talks as preliminary and are considering security, planning and the practicalities of a possible court appearance by a former president.

Manhattan prosecutors and Trump’s attorney Joseph Tacopina did not comment. A message has been left for the court administrators.

The grand jury heard witnesses including former Trump attorney Michael Cohenwho says he orchestrated payments to two women in 2016 to silence them about sexual encounters they had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump denies the encounters, says he did nothing wrong and has called the investigation a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor intent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 presidential campaign.

“Democrats have probed and attacked President Trump before he was elected — and they’ve failed every time,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement Thursday about the probe.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office appears to have been investigating whether the payments violated state laws or how Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations private.

Daniels and at least two former Trump aides — former political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokeswoman Hope Hicks — are among witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.

Cohen said he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to pornographic actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal on Trump’s instructions. According to Cohen, the payouts were intended to buy their silence on Trump, who was then in the midst of his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors said the company paid him $420,000 to reimburse him for paying Daniels $130,000 and to cover bonuses and other alleged expenses. The company classified these payments internally as legal expenses.

The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid, the National Enquirer prevented her story from coming to light.

Federal prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the Enquirer’s parent company in exchange for its cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to indictments against Cohen in 2018. Prosecutors said the payments to Daniels and McDougal were improper, unregistered gifts for Trump’s campaign.

Kohen pleaded guiltyserved prison time and was deposed. Federal prosecutors have never charged Trump with a crime.


Long reports from Washington. Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed.

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