Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts related to business fraud
Donald Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud in a Manhattan grand jury indictment, according to two sources familiar with the matter – the first time in US history that a president current or former faces criminal charges.
Trump is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
The indictment has been filed under seal and will be announced in the coming days. The charges are not publicly known at this time.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has investigated the former president in connection with his alleged role in a silent payment and cover-up scheme involving adult film star Stormy Daniels that dates back to the election 2016 presidential election. Grand jury proceedings are secret, but a source familiar with the matter told CNN that a witness testified about 30 minutes before voting to indict Trump.
The decision is sure to send shockwaves across the country, pushing the American political system – which has never seen any of its ex-leaders face criminal charges, let alone when he comes forward. back to the presidency – in uncharted waters.
Trump issued a statement in response to the indictment saying it was “the highest level of political persecution and election interference in history.”
“I believe this witch hunt will massively backfire on Joe Biden,” the former president said. “The American people realize exactly what the radical left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our Movement and our Party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we will throw every one of those crooked Democrats out of power so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! ”
Trump was caught off guard by the grand jury’s decision to indict him, according to a person who spoke to him directly. As the former president prepared for an impeachment last week, he began to believe reports that a potential impeachment was weeks – or more – away.
“Is it a shock today? Hell yes,” the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity as Trump’s team calculated their answer.
Bragg’s office said it was in contact with Trump’s attorneys.
“Tonight we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan district attorney’s office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” the office said Thursday. from the district attorney in a statement. “Advice will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”
The lawsuit against Trump pushes the 2024 presidential campaign into a new phase, with the former president vowing to continue running against criminal charges.
Trump has frequently called the various investigations surrounding him a “witch hunt,” attempting to sway public opinion by portraying himself as a victim of what he claims are political investigations by Democratic prosecutors. As the indictment neared, Trump urged his supporters to protest his arrest, echoing his calls for action after the 2020 election as he tried to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden .
Trump has long avoided legal consequences in his personal, professional and political life. He has settled a number of private civil lawsuits over the years and settled his disputes over the Trump Organization, his namesake company. As president, he was impeached twice by the Democratic-led House but avoided conviction by the Senate.
In December, the Trump Organization was found guilty of multiple tax evasion charges, although Trump himself was not charged in the case.
Trump’s Republican allies — as well as his 2024 GOP rivals — condemned the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for the impending indictment.
“I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage,” former Vice President Mike Pence told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Thursday night. . “For millions of Americans, this seems like nothing more than a political pursuit by a prosecutor who literally ran for office promising to indict the former president.”
GOP rallies to Trump’s defense
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy promised to launch an investigation into the matter, and congressional Republicans quickly rallied to Trump’s defense, attacking Bragg on Twitter and accusing the district attorney of a political witch hunt.
“Outrageous,” tweeted House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of the chairs of the Republican committee that asked Bragg to testify before Congress about the Trump investigation.
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, called the indictment “completely unprecedented” and said it was “a catastrophic escalation in the militarization of the justice system.”
But at least one moderate Republican told CNN he trusts the justice system.
“I believe in the rule of law. I think we have checks and balances and I trust the system,” Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon said.
“We have a judge. We have jurors. There are remedies. So I think ultimately justice will be served. If he’s guilty, it will show. But otherwise, I think it will be shown as well,” Bacon told CNN.
The investigation began under Cy Vance
Bragg’s office had reported as recently as early March that they were set to bring charges against Trump after inviting the ex-president to testify before the grand jury investigating the silent money scheme. Potential defendants in New York are required by law to be notified and invited to appear before a grand jury to assess the charges. But Trump ultimately declined to appear before the panel.
The long-running investigation began under Bragg’s predecessor, Cy Vance, when Trump was in office. It’s a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to Daniels in late October 2016, days before the 2016 presidential election, to stop him from going public with an alleged affair. with Trump a decade earlier. Trump denied the affair.
At stake in the investigation is the payment made to Daniels and the reimbursement from the Trump Organization to Cohen.
According to court filings in Cohen’s federal lawsuits, Trump Organization executives authorized payments totaling $420,000 to cover his upfront payment of $130,000 and tax liabilities and reward him with a bonus. . The Trump Organization noted the reimbursements as legal fees in its internal books. Trump denied knowledge of the payment.
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