Donald Trump has become the first former U.S. president to be indicted for a crime in which he covered up hush money payments before the 2016 presidential election.
Here’s what you need to know about the indictment and case.
What is indictment?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, prosecution is the process when a person receives “formal notice that he or she is believed to have committed a crime.”
The indictment contains basic information that informs the charges against you.
It takes place after a grand jury examines all potential evidence and determines whether a crime has been committed. If the jury decides there is enough evidence, charges will be filed.
In the case, a New York City grand jury, which has been open since January, indicted Trump after hearing testimony from numerous witnesses. The specific charges are not yet known and an indictment is likely to be announced in the coming days.
What was Trump indicted for?
A grand jury voted to indict Trump after months of hearing evidence that he paid $130,000 to former porn star Stormy Daniels late in the 2016 campaign. was intended to buy her silence about an encounter she says she had experienced years before.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, said he had arranged with Trump to pay Daniels and a second woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougall.
The former president denies the incident and wrongdoing. He said the payment was to protect his reputation from false accusations.
The specific charges were not disclosed, but multiple US media reported before Thursday’s indictment that the potential charges were related to how Trump paid Cohen, prosecutors said. alleges that it improperly classified the payment as a legal expense.
The indictment is usually a misdemeanor, but could be upgraded to a felony if prosecutors link the payment to election law violations. Payments to Daniels just before the 2016 election could be considered illegal campaign contributions.
what did trump say?
Trump denied Daniels’ allegations, and his attorney accused Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, of extortion.
He calls himself a “completely innocent person” and the indictment is the latest in a string of actions he says are designed to “destroy” his Make America Great Again movement. claims to be.
The former president also accused Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who led the investigation, of trying to undermine his election chances.
“This is the highest level of political persecution and election interference in history,” Trump said in a statement, calling Bragg a “disgrace.”
Is this the only investigation facing Trump?
Besides the Manhattan incident, Trump faces a string of other investigations.
At the federal level, the Justice Department is investigating the holding of top-secret government documents at his Mar-a-Lago Florida mansion and efforts by Trump and his supporters to overturn the results of the 2020 election. I’m here.
Efforts by many of the same players in the latter case were also the subject of a special grand jury inquiry in Georgia. .
With so many serious cases looming around other investigations, some legal experts are questioning the wisdom of the Manhattan case being charged first.
Republicans viewed the indictment as a political prosecution and accused Bragg of weaponizing the criminal justice system.
Hours after the indictments came to light, Democrats fell silent, but some of the former president’s critics described the case as a long-awaited dose of accountability.
Democratic President Joe Biden, who is running for re-election next year, has yet to comment.
A judge is likely to clear Manhattan’s charges in the next few days, and Trump will have to go there to be fingerprinted and photographed, known as Surrender Day.
He will then appear before a judge who will formally indict him and decide whether he will be released on bail or taken into custody.
Should Trump actually turn himself in, hopes are for a relatively quick process and release. The former president is unlikely to cross the sidewalk or make his way through a crowded court in cufflinks.
Legal experts say a potential trial is still at least a year or more away, and as the former U.S. president calls for a return to the White House, it may not be possible during or even after the 2024 presidential election. It’s raising the odds of facing a jury in a Manhattan courtroom.