Cohen letter and possible appearance of new witness shape grand jury's work against Trump

Uncertainty grows over the investigation by prosecutor Bragg who plans to present a new key witness on Thursday. Meanwhile, the former president demands that "this witch hunt" be closed.

The case of Stormy Daniels Vs. Donald Trump has reached a new climax following the publication of a letter from Michael Cohen, acknowledging his conduct as the perpetrator of the payment to the porn actress, and, the announcement by prosecutors that they will present a new key witness to testify in the case on Thursday. Trump demanded on Truth Social, the immediate closure of "this witch hunt" before "prosecutorial misconduct" could be found.

Tension and uncertainty in the grand jury

At the moment, the most salient feature of the case is uncertainty. The tension caused by Trump's announcement on Truth Social last Saturday that Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, intended to arrest him for the alleged payment made in exchange for Daniels' silence has been in crescendo from that moment on, provoking the wrath of Republican congressmen, who have even summoned Bragg to appear before them, and accusing him of persecution for partisan interests without any real basis for it.

The grand jury has maintained an erratic and confused performance, caused especially by pressure from Trump supporters and detractors, and, above all, by the performance of prosecutors, who are under the spotlight. The prosecution's star witness, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, has not yet been called to testify, even though he was on the court premises awaiting his turn. Wednesday's session was suddenly cancelled, and sources close to the case claim that prosecutors will present the testimony of a new witness on Thursday, although there has been no official confirmation as yet.

Cohen exculpated Trump in his letter

The case has been turned strongly in Trump's favor following the publication in The Daily Mail of a letter from back in 2018 from Cohen's then-attorney, Stephen Ryan, to the Federal Election Commission in which he acknowledges that he paid out of pocket the $130,000 for Daniels' silence prior to the 2016 presidential campaign. In the missive, the lawyer also indicated that he was never instructed by Trump, or anyone on his team to do so and that the money was never reimbursed to him, either directly or indirectly. Trump himself has demanded that the case be closed and again took aim at Bragg's work for misconduct. The former president even joked about his possible arrest by posting a smiling photo of himself surrounded by police officers posing with him in a relaxed manner.

The letter was Cohen's response to the FEC in the face of Paul Ryan and Common Cause's indictment of alleged irregular financing of Trump's presidential campaign. In it, the tycoon's former lawyer asserted that "contrary to the allegations in the complaint, which are entirely speculative, neither Mr. Cohen nor Essential Consultants LLC made any in-kind contributions to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. or any other presidential campaign committee."

Contradicting his accusations one year later

Something that contradicts his statements, a year later, when he affirmed under oath that Trump, "asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair." In addition, the lawyer then assured that "Mr. Trump directed me to use my own personal funds from a Home Equity Line of Credit to avoid any money being traced back to him that could negatively impact his campaign."

In his indictment, Cohen presented in evidence the copy of a $130,000 wire transfer to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and "a copy of a $35,000 check that President Trump signed personally, from his personal bank account on August 1, 2017 - when he was President of the United States - pursuant to the cover-up, which was the basis of my guilty plea, to reimburse me"

Trump calls for Cohen to be prosecuted

The contradictory testimonies of the lawyer open two possible scenarios for lawyers and prosecutors. On the one hand, Trump's defenders may claim that Cohen's statement should be dismissed as having lied in one of the two versions, while prosecutors could point out that the letter was written when Cohen was still working for the former president and could be an attempt to cover up for his boss. Trump has called for Cohen to be prosecuted for lying and for "all the tumult and cost he has caused the District Attorney's Office."

The Public Prosecutor's Office has also been hinting for several days that it will present a new witness who could be key to the development of the case. At this time, neither the identity, nor any information he might provide has been disclosed, but it has generated intrigue given the confidence that Bragg and his team have placed in this person to tip the grand jury's decision in their favor.