According to reports, Donald Trump has been invited to speak before a grand jury panel next week about the $130,000 payment his former attorney, Michael Cohen, made on his behalf for an alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
March 9 (UPI) -- Donald Trump responded Thursday after reports said he has been invited to testify before a grand jury in New York City impaneled to hear evidence regarding the former president's hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign.
"I did absolutely nothing wrong, I never had an affair with Stormy Daniels, nor would I have wanted to have an affair with Stormy Daniels," Trump said in a statement on Truth Social, later adding that the "statute of limitations has long since ended."
Trump called the probe a "political witch-hunt," which he said is "trying to take down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party" ahead of the 2024 presidential race.
The former president, in his comments, also referred to Daniels with the off-color slur "horseface" in a mockery of her appearance and claimed that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is working with the grand jury, "has allowed violent crime to reach new heights in New York without any retribution."
Trump made similar comments in January, prompting a response from Daniels who thanked the former president on Twitter for "admitting that I was telling the truth."
"Guess I'll take my 'horse face' back to bed now, Mr. former 'president.' Btw, that's the correct way to use quotation marks," Daniels tweeted.
Trump has been asked to speak before the grand jury next week about the $130,000 payment his former attorney, Michael Cohen, made on his behalf to cover up an alleged affair with the adult film star, The New York Times first reported.
The news was confirmed by sources to the Washington Post and ABC News, all speaking with the news outlets under the condition of anonymity.
Grand juries, unlike trial juries, are secret panels that act as an investigative arm of the courts and hear evidence presented by prosecutors to assist them in determining whether there is enough evidence to charge a person with a crime.
Under New York law, a potential defendant can request to be notified when a case against them is being heard by a grand jury and can elect to speak before the panel without their lawyers present.
The panel also can request that prosecutors invite a defendant or witnesses in for questioning before making their recommendation on whether charges should be filed.
Lawyers for Trump told NBC News that Trump was not subpoenaed, referring to the legal term for when a court has compelled a person to testify in a case. His lawyers did not indicate whether he would accept the invitation.
Such invitations to speak before a grand jury can mean that the panel may be reaching the end of its investigation, though prosecutors have not finished presenting evidence to the panel. It does not necessarily mean that the person being asked to testify will face criminal charges.
"The Manhattan district attorney's threat to indict President Trump is simply insane. For the past five years, the DA's office has been on a witch hunt, investigating every aspect of President Trump's life, and they've come up empty at every turn -- and now this," a Trump spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News.
"The fact that after their intensive investigation the DA is even considering a new political attack is a clear exoneration of President Trump in all areas."