Trump indicted in alleged hush money scheme, becoming 1st former US president to be prosecuted
Published in Political News
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday in New York City on charges related to an alleged hush-money payment made to a porn actor in the final days of the 2016 campaign, marking the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been criminally prosecuted.
The unprecedented indictment, confirmed Thursday by Trump’s attorneys, comes as Trump is facing separate investigations into his alleged involvement in 2020 election interference by his supporters and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, along with his handling of classified documents after leaving office.
“He did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in Court,” Trump’s lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said in a statement.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said Thursday night that it had reached out to Trump’s attorneys to coordinate his surrender. Multiple outlets reported that Tacopina said Trump’s arraignment is likely to occur early next week.
The indictment is sealed and the exact charges a New York grand jury voted to bring against Trump are still unknown. They are expected to be related to a $130,000 payment made by his former attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels, money allegedly paid to prevent the actor from publicly saying she had an affair with Trump. The former president has been accused of hiding his reimbursement of Cohen by funneling it through his business and recording the payments as legal services.
Trump is a declared candidate for president in 2024, and his Republican allies have sought to portray Bragg’s work as politically motivated, with the former president calling on his supporters in a recent social media post to protest and “take our nation back.” Over the last year, Bragg revived the investigation, which was initiated in 2018 but was repeatedly placed on the back burner.
There’s no set timetable for the indictment to be made public. Bragg could ask a judge to unseal it, Trump could choose to disclose the details, or it could be revealed when Trump first appears in court for arraignment. High-profile cases of this type typically require a long time to prepare, and it is likely to take months before the case comes before a jury.
Trump reacted to the news of the indictment in familiar fashion, calling it “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” as well as a “Witch-Hunt” fueled by “Radical Left Democrats.”
“The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable — indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference,” he said in a statement.
His statement cited a laundry list of grievances over past investigations, including his two impeachment trials and last year’s FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate for classified documents. The former president criticized Bragg for investigating him rather than focusing on crime in New York and claimed the indictment would strengthen him and his movement.
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