Federal prosecutors considered charges in Stormy Daniels case after Trump left office: Book
Federal prosecutors considered pressing charges against former President Donald Trump shortly after he left office for campaign finance violations but ultimately decided against it, according to a new book.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York discussed potential charges against the former president based on evidence gathered when they charged former Trump attorney Michael Cohen in 2018, according to the new book Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It by Elie Honig. Cohen was convicted after pleading guilty to paying two women who accused Trump of sexual affairs to be silent, which included adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
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An “exhaustive” report of Trump’s involvement was included in prosecutors’ draft indictment for Cohen, but Justice Department officials removed those details before it was made public, according to Honig. DOJ officials did so because they considered it possibly harmful to his reputation which would be “unfair” since he was not the one being indicted.
At the time of Cohen’s trial, federal prosecutors did not press charges against Trump due to guidance from the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, according to Honig. However, prosecutors revived discussions about possible charges shortly before Trump left office in 2021.
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Prosecutors ultimately decided not to pursue charges because of the possible political consequences, according to the book. Additionally, they noted that Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the subsequent Jan. 6 Capitol riot made charges for campaign finance violations “seem somehow trivial and outdated by comparison,” Honig wrote.
Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It is slated to be released on Feb. 14.