Former President Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump on Thursday.
Federal prosecutors say Trump directed his lawyer to make a hush money payment. Trump becomes the first president, past or present, to be indicted.
Multiple outlets are reporting he could turn himself in and appear in court as early as Tuesday.
The 45th president is accused of telling his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to pay off adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump wanted her to stay silent about the pair’s alleged affair before the 2016 presidential election.
In a lengthy statement, Trump said in part, ”This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”
He continued his attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, calling him “a disgrace… doing Joe Biden’s dirty work” before ending with, “I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden…So our Movement, and our Party - united and strong - will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 on campaign finance charges and lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He served just over a year before being released on house arrest.
“So, if found guilty, it’s likely that Trump could face prison time as well,” said legal analyst Rory Riley-Topping.
A spokesperson for Bragg says the DA’s office is coordinating Trump’s surrender with Trump’s lawyer. The exact crime or crimes Trump is being charged with is unclear because his indictment is under seal.
However, Riley-Topping thinks the DA is likely confident he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump is guilty.
“Prosecutors, and DAs specifically, generally don’t want to bring charges in cases that they don’t think that they’re going to win,” Riley-Topping said.
The decision to indict Trump is likely have a political impact as well. It could hurt his reelection bid in 2024, but Republican strategist Amy Tarkanian says this is something that could actually ensure him the Republican nomination.
“His base will feel even more emboldened and, you know, they will believe the president in the terms of this being a witch hunt and that they are out to get him,” said Tarkanian.
Should Trump surrender, he will go through the legal process just like any other private citizen. He will be fingerprinted, take a mug shot and be arraigned in New York.
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