Manhattan prosecutors met Wednesday with adult film star Stormy Daniels as part of the long-running investigation into a $130,000 payment Donald Trump made just before the 2016 election to silence the actress about a prior affair.
“At the request of the Manhattan DA’s office Stormy Daniels and I met with prosecutors today,” attorney Clark Brewster tweeted. “Stormy responded to questions and has agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed.”
Daniels thanked her attorney in a separate tweet for “helping me in our continuing fight for truth and justice.”
It was unclear whether the meeting occurred in person, but the disclosure added new drama to an investigation believed to be nearing its end as a decision loomed on whether Trump would face criminal charges.
The district attorney’s office declined comment.
Former Trump fixer at grand jury
The meeting also comes as former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who arranged for the payment, appeared before a grand jury for the second time Wednesday.
Following the meeting, Cohen told reporters late Wednesday that he answered all questions posed to him.
“My role, for the time being, is over,” Cohen said. “I made a commitment to the district attorney that I would continue to provide any information that they may need.”
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said he was unaware of a meeting involving prosecutors and Daniels. He said Cohen’s testimony lasted “a couple of hours.”
Trump has denied wrongdoing, and federal investigators ended their own inquiry into the payments in 2019. But the testimony from Cohen, who already has been convicted and served prison time, could help bring the first charges in history against a former president.
Trump declined a prior invitation to appear before the Manhattan grand jury.
Why Stormy’s testimony matters
Joyce White Vance, a former federal prosecutor, said Daniels’ testimony could be a linchpin during grand jury consideration of the case and at a potential trial, even if she did not know the specifics of whether Trump personally authorized the hush money payments to her.
“At trial, details help a jury understand the government’s evidence,” Vance, who served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2009 to 2017, told USA TODAY.
“Whether she corroborates Michael Cohen or not,” Vance said, “Daniels’ testimony can help jurors understand what Trump had to hide and the political motive for securing her silence just ahead of the election.”
The Manhattan inquiry is only one of several investigations shadowing Trump:
- A Justice Department special counsel is examining the former president’s handling of classified documents and efforts to block President Joe Biden’s election in 2020.
- The district attorney in Atlanta, Georgia also has indicated that she is close to making charging decisions in a wide-ranging inquiry into Trump’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 election in Georgia.