PUBLISHED ON: March 21, 2023
All signs indicate that former President Donald Trump will soon be indicted by a New York County Grand Jury in connection with a “hush money” payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Based on media reports and public comments made by President Trump’s own lawyers and supporters, it appears that Trump will be charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree in violation of New York Penal Law §175.10, a Class E Felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.
By way of background, the definition of the crime of falsifying business records requires in relevant part that the defendant, acting with the intent to defraud, make or cause a false entry to be made in the business records of an enterprise; the crime is elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony when the intent to defraud “includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.” See New York Penal Law §175.05 and §175.10.
Here it appears that the prosecution’s theory will be that Trump falsified the records of the Trump Organization by characterizing in those records what was in truth $130,000 in hush money paid to Ms. Daniels as a “legal fee” paid to Trump’s attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen.
Ethan Greenberg is a shareholder in Anderson Kill’s New York office and co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense group. He was formerly an Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice in New York City. Sam Braverman is also a shareholder at Anderson Kill and co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Defense group.
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