Is hush money illegal? How probe into Donald Trump’s Stormy Daniels payment could lead to jail time

You might be wondering if “hush payments” are actually illegal, as former President Donald Trump claims he expects to be arrested in connection with such schemes.

On Saturday, March 18, Donald Trump shared his expected imminent arrest. He did not explain how he was notified of the pending arrests, nor did he provide evidence of how the plan was to proceed.

“The leading Republican candidate and former President of the United States will be arrested next Tuesday,” Trump wrote in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

In the article, Trump did not say why he was expected to be arrested, but it was said to be related to New York prosecutors’ investigation into the former president’s role in the reported hush money scheme. But is hush money illegal? Will it really get Trump indicted? We’ve taken a deep dive into the laws surrounding such programs.

Are hush money illegal?

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No, hush money schemes are not illegal. Despite talk of Donald Trump being potentially arrested for the hush money scheme, the act itself is not illegal or a felony. This might be considered a shady act, but it’s common among organizations and individuals when not-so-friendly PR stories come to light.

So, knowing that hush money isn’t illegal, you might be wondering what charges Trump is allegedly facing. The former U.S. president, who served from 2017 to 2021, could face charges of falsifying Trump Organization business records. It’s a misdemeanor in New York.

The alleged falsification of business records hinges on payments made by the Trump Organization to Trump’s then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen. In late October 2016, just before the presidential election, Cohen paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000. Daniels and Trump allegedly had an affair a decade ago, which Trump continues to deny. The Trump Organization refers to the reimbursement as legal expenses on its books. Trump has previously denied knowledge of such payments.

Cohen was arrested following an investigation into the hush money scheme. Cohen later admitted that the payments were made to protect Trump in the run-up to the election. He was charged with violating the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). The bill makes it illegal to make undeclared contributions to candidates in excess of $2,700 in a general election.

Michael Cohen was tried and sentenced in a criminal case, rather than a civil one, after pleading guilty to “willful and willful” violations of campaign finance laws. He also pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Trump’s alleged involvement in how it landed him in jail

New York prosecutors are currently weighing whether to charge Donald Trump with falsifying Trump Organization business records. This would be classified as a misdemeanor, not a felony.

But there is another, more significant allegation related to falsified records under investigation. Trump faces a Class E felony if it is proven in court that he falsified business records at the first degree to commit another crime or to facilitate or conceal another crime, in which case he violated strict campaign finance laws . This will result in a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years in prison. The charge hinges on whether the conduct was “deliberate and deliberate,” as in the Cohen case. Prosecutors need to prove Trump’s intent to commit the crime.

After Trump’s Truth Social post, a spokesman for the Republican nominee team said they had not received any updates from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which is leading the investigation. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office also declined to comment for this story, following a Truth Social post.No confirmed charges are pending against the former president, and Trump’s representatives illustrate Law enforcement did not notify him, but media reports said he was about to be arrested.

How the hush money investigation unfolded

New York prosecutors gave the impression that their investigation into the hush money scheme was nearing completion. Prosecutors in the office of Manhattan Attorney DA Alvin Bragg recently asked Donald Trump to appear before the grand jury investigating the case. In New York, potential defendants are notified and invited to appear before a grand jury before charges can be weighed.

We likely won’t have a ruling until the end of the month or spring. Another witness is expected to testify before the grand jury on Monday, March 20. But it was unclear whether this would be the last witness before the verdict.

The indictment of Donald Trump would make him the first former U.S. president and current presidential candidate to face criminal charges. There is no indication whether that will affect his current presidential campaign. Trump has run for president three times.

The former president continues to be investigated on multiple charges of fraud and falsification of records, as well as Mar-O-Lago documents.

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