The Manhattan district attorney’s office is reportedly reviving an investigation into illegal hush-money payments made by the Trump Organization to multiple women during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The inquiry was launched by D.A. Cy Vance on Thursday, according to multiple outlets. The office is believed to be looking at whether senior executives at the president’s family business broke the law by listing disbursement payments made to two women—adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal—as legal expenses. Both women say they had affairs with the president years ago, something Trump denies.
The news comes just weeks after the U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped a federal investigation into the matter—one of several investigations spiked by Trump ally William Barr. Sources in the district attorney’s office told the Times that the bribes may have violated a state law prohibiting the falsification of business records, creating an opening for the district attorney to pursue the case.
The state prosecutor reportedly mulled investigating the payments last year, but ultimately paused the inquiry at the behest of the federal prosecutors.
Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal attorney, pled guilty last summer to numerous campaign finance violations, including paying $130,000 to Daniels at Trump’s discretion. He is now serving three years in prison. During a raid on Cohen’s Manhattan office and residence, the FBI uncovered materials related to a payments made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
On Thursday, the Manhattan D.A.’s office also subpoenaed American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, which allegedly helped arrange the payments to McDougal. The company, whose CEO David Pecker was granted immunity in exchange for cooperating with the federal investigation, could not be reached for comment.
An attorney for the Trump Organization, Marc Mukasey, deemed the investigation a “political hit job.”
“It’s just harassment of the president, his family, and his business, using subpoenas and leaks as weapons,” he wrote in a statement to the Times. “We will respond as appropriate.”
A spokesperson for Manhattan D.A.’s Office declined to comment.