Before the 2016 presidential election, adult film star Stormy Daniels wanted to go public with a story of her affair with Donald Trump that took place 10 years prior.

But Daniels kept quiet, thanks to a $130,000 hush-money payment from Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer. Cohen later pled guilty to federal charges stemming from that payment and other crimes, but federal prosecutors never brought a case against Trump.

What You Need To Know

  • The case against former President Donald Trump centers on hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016

  • Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was then reimbursed by the Trump Organization

  • Because the Trump Organization misclassified the payment as legal services, Trump could face a misdemeanor charge of falsification of records, and he could be charged with a felony, which carries a sentence of up to four years, if falsification of records is tied to a second crime like a campaign finance violation

Enter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

"We have an ongoing active investigation concerning the former president," Bragg told NY1 in a January interview.

Bragg is now pursuing Trump, who repaid Cohen for the payment. That payment was then misclassified by the Trump Organization as a legal expense.

That could result in a misdemeanor charge of falsification of records. It would only result in a felony charge if tied to a second crime — that alleged crime could be a campaign finance violation, since the hush-money benefitted Trump's presidential bid and could therefore be construed as a campaign donation.

Cohen has testified against Trump before a grand jury.

"This case is not going to be predicated on any one individual, but rather it's going to be predicated on the documents, the evidence, the text messages, the emails," Cohen told CNN in a recent interview. "They have a tremendous amount of information."

Trump has denied an affair with Daniels, and initially denied knowledge of the hush-money payment. His current attorney, Joe Tacopina, now says Trump was a victim of extortion and, like Trump himself, he has attacked Bragg.

"He's a very Democratic prosecutor who's been supported by the far-left, going after perhaps the most far-right guy you have out there," Tacopina said in a recent CNN interview. "And I think he's thinking, 'If I prosecute him, I take him out of candidacy.'"

If charged with a felony, Trump could face a sentence of up to four years, though legal experts say even if convicted, he could get off with no prison time at all.