Donald Trump has been asked to testify before a New York grand jury next week as part of an investigation into cash payments made on his behalf during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Joseph Tacopina, the former president’s attorney, confirmed the news, telling the Associated Press, “It’s a lot of ado about nothing to me.”
An invitation to appear before a grand jury often indicates that a decision on the charges is imminent.
But Tacopina said she doesn’t think prosecutors decided “one way or the other” whether to charge Trump, adding there was no legal basis for a case.
“It’s just another example of how they weaponise the justice system against him — and it’s kind of unfair,” she said.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, declined to comment on the news, which was first reported by the New York Times.
Trump posted a lengthy statement on his social media network describing the investigation as a “political witch hunt that seeks to bring down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party.”
The 76-year-old has has already announced that it is applying for the best job in 2024.
“I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong”
He said, “I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong,” adding criticism of what he called a “corrupt, depraved, armed justice system.”
The grand jury looked into Trump’s involvement in a $130,000 payment he made in 2016 to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Ms Daniels claimed she had a sexual encounter with Mr Trump years before he became president, which he denies.
The money, paid from the personal funds of then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen, was to keep her from speaking out about the claims.
Cohen said he was reimbursed by the Trump Organization and paid extra bonuses that made the total $420,000.
In 2018 Cohen was jailed for three years for orchestrating the payment to Ms. Daniels and another woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who she said was in a months-long affair with Trump before he became president.
“The invitation should mean that the prosecutor is preparing to file a criminal case”
Marc Scholl, a former prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, told Reuters news agency that Trump’s opportunity to testify suggests that the grand jury has heard evidence implicating him in a crime.
“The invitation should mean that the prosecutor is preparing to bring criminal charges.
“If he (Trump) appears, he’ll have to waive his immunity and answer questions from the prosecutor,” he said.
Trump is already being investigated by prosecutors for his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and by the US Justice Department, as well as his handling of classified documents, among other issues.