A New York grand jury indicted Donald Trump on Thursday for secretly paying a porn star during his 2016 campaign, making him the first former US president to face criminal charges.
The landmark indictment of the 76-year-old Republican – who denies all wrongdoing in relation to the payments made before the election that sent him to the White House – is sure to upend the current presidential race in which Trump is seeking reelection. are supposed to. Office.
And it will forever mark the legacy of the former leader who survived two impeachments and kept prosecutors at bay over everything from the US Capitol riot to missing classified files – only to land in court over a sex scandal involving Stormy Daniels. For, a 44-year-old adult film actress.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed that it had contacted Trump’s lawyers Thursday evening to “coordinate his surrender” for an arraignment in New York — at which point the felony charges against him would be disclosed.
Trump dismissed the indictment as “political harassment and election interference”, lashing out at prosecutors and his Democratic opponents and saying it would backfire on his successor, President Joe Biden.
Surrendering to impeachment — which Trump’s lawyers have said he would do if he is indicted — typically would involve him being fingerprinted and photographed, potentially even handcuffed.
In the Republican camp, Trump’s allies and sons denounced what they see as retaliation aimed at derailing the 2024 campaign — while his potential rival for the party’s nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, criticized the indictment. Said “non-American”.
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, said the impeachment had caused “irreparable damage” to the country.
But top Democrat Adam Schiff – the prosecutor leading Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 – called it “a sobering and unprecedented development”.
“The indictment and arrest of a former president is unparalleled in the entire American history,” Schiff said in a statement. “But so is the illegal conduct of which Trump has been charged.”
An attorney for Daniels welcomed the news as evidence that “no one is above the law.”
Clarke Brewster tweeted, “The impeachment of Donald Trump is no cause for rejoicing.” “Now let truth and justice triumph.”
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On March 18, Trump announced that he expected to arrest Daniels within days of the payment—who had received $130,000 weeks before the election that brought Trump to power—in an effort to make him go public. In order to prevent them from appearing, they claim that they were a decade ago.
In predicting his impeachment, Trump also called for demonstrations and warned blacks that it could lead to “potential death and destruction” that “could be devastating to our country.”
His statement had set New York on edge for possible protests, but the prospect of a quick indictment had waned as the grand jury panel continued to hear witnesses – through Thursday.
Media huddled outside the district attorney’s office Thursday alongside anti-Trump protesters — but overall the situation was calm.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who has testified before a grand jury, told Congress in 2019 that he paid Daniels on Trump’s behalf and was later reimbursed.
Prosecutors argued that the checks were not properly registered, and the jury was asked to consider whether there had been a cover-up intended to benefit Trump’s campaign by burying the scandal.
The New York investigation is the first of three major investigations against the former president to reach a decision on charges.
Trump also faced protests in Georgia related to the 2020 election and an attack on the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021, by supporters of the former president who hoped to keep Joe Biden in office if he lost the election .
Trump, who is seen as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 election, has called all the investigations political harassment.
The impact of the indictment on his electoral chances is unpredictable, with critics and opponents alike expressing concern about the legal merits of the hush money case.
Opponents worry that if Trump is cleared, it could be easier to dismiss any future indictments as a “witch hunt” in arguably more serious cases – such as Trump’s attempt to overturn Georgia’s election results. Attempt.
Analysts say Manhattan’s allegations will also likely juice turnout among Trump’s base, boosting his chances in the party primaries.
Trump staged his first presidential campaign rally in Texas on Saturday, addressing several thousand supporters – far fewer than the 15,000 – he had expected in the Texas city of Waco.
“Innocence of people doesn’t matter to these radical left maniacs,” he told the agitated crowd.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)