NEW YORK, NEW YORK — A New York grand jury on Thursday voted to indict former President Donald Trump, making him the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges.
Trump will be asked to surrender to authorities, according to The New York Times.
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The indictment remained sealed Thursday afternoon, but prosecutors have said they intended to bring the indictment against Trump in connection with so-called “hush money” payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The charges come following a grand jury investigation into business-related matters involving Trump, including his alleged role in payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to The Washington Post and The New York Times. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and accused prosecutors of targeting him for political reasons.
Trump released a statement, saying:
“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats - the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country - have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement.
“You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this.
”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.
”Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever.”Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace.
“Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!”I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden.
“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, 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!”
In 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Cohen, a former longtime attorney for Trump, paid Daniels $130,000 to keep her from talking publicly about a sexual encounter she had with Trump years earlier. Cohen subsequently confirmed that he had made the payment and expected to be reimbursed, the Post reported.
Paying hush money is not a crime, though federal prosecutors have said Trump could face a misdemeanor charge for falsifying business records by marking the reimbursement to Cohen as a legal fee, The Associated Press reported. The charge could be a felony campaign finance violation if prosecutors determined Trump falsified records to conceal another crime, according to the AP and Spectrum News NY1.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating campaign finance laws by submitting false invoices to the Trump Organization to get reimbursement for unlawful campaign contributions made in the form of payments to Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. He said in federal court that he coordinated with Trump to make the payments, which were aimed at keeping the women quiet prior to the 2016 presidential election.
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Daniels claimed she had sex with Trump in 2006, more than a decade before he became president. Her attorney, Clark Brewster, said she met with prosecutors at their request earlier this month and that she “agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed.”
Cohen in a statement obtained by ABC News said Trump is the first current or former United States president to be indicted.
“I take no produce in issuing this statement and wish to also remind everyone of the presumption of innocence; as provided by the due process clause. However, I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former president. Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather just the beginning,” Cohen said, according to ABC News. “Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself. The two things I wish to say at this time is that accountability matters and I stand by my testimony and the evidence I have provided DANY.”
Trump’s son, Eric Trump, released a statement on Twitter.
“This is third world prosecutorial misconduct. It is the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year,” Eric Trump said.
Trump Grand Jury in Fulton County:
Trump is also potentially facing charges that he tried to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia.
In January, a Fulton County grand jury presented a final report to District Attorney Fani Willis after an intensive, eight-month investigation.
Willis has yet to announce whether or not Trump will be indicted in that case. She issued a statement to Channel 2 Action News about the Manhattan case declining to comment.
The Fulton County grand jury investigated everything from the now infamous phone call from former President Donald Trump to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to the false allegations of voter fraud made by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a state Senate subcommittee, to the meeting of false electors inside the state capitol.
- Fulton grand jury looking into whether Trump interfered with 2020 election completes investigation
- Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn appears before special grand jury into 2020 election
- Special grand jury wants to hear more about pressure campaign to overturn 2020 election
- Key witnesses continue to fight subpoenas by special grand jury investigating election interference
- New court filing confirms 11 GOP false electors potential targets in election tampering probe
- Judge rules Georgia lawmakers to testify in 2020 elections investigation, limits testimony
- WSB-TV, media groups urge judge to make special grand jury report public
Over the past year, a parade of witnesses have come to Fulton County to testify, from Rudy Giuliani to Michael Flynn to Brad Raffensperger.
Only a small section of the report has been released.
“We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 election that could result in overturning that election,” the report said.
According to the released parts of the report, a majority of the jurors believed perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses and recommended Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis seek appropriate indictments.
Earlier this month, Trump’s Georgia attorneys filed a lengthy motion demanding both the judge and district attorney overseeing the special purpose grand jury be disqualified and that the grand report be tossed out.
The motion, which is 483 pages long, said the former president doesn’t think a special purpose grand jury, the district attorney, or the judge overseeing it were fair.
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