A Manhattan grand jury indicted Donald Trump on Thursday following a probe into alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 US presidential campaign, marking the first time a former president was slapped with criminal charges.
Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg spearheaded the investigation against Trump even as he launched a fresh bid to capture the White House in the 2024 election.
More Than 30 Charges
The former President faces more than 30 charges linked to business fraud, sources told CNN. The Manhattan District Attorney's office said it has contacted Trump's attorneys demanding the former president's surrender in order that the arraignment takes place. "Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected," the attorney's office said. Trump's attorneys said the former president will likely appear in court early next week.
Trump Denies Wrongdoing
Chris Kise, the former president's attorney, said the indictment marked the lowest point in history for our criminal justice system. "What was once the most respected and revered district attorney's office in the nation has been fully bastardized by an opportunistic politician seeking, like many others, to cash in on the Trump brand ... The complete lack of legal basis, coupled with the politically targeted nature of the prosecution, should strike fear into every citizen in this country irrespective of their views of President Trump," he added.
Trump, 76, denies all wrongdoing and insists that the probe is part of a Democrat-led witch hunt against him. "This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history," Trump said. Manhattan District Attorney investigated the payment of $130,000 to the adult film actress, which was made by Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump appealed to supporters to raise more money to fight the legal challenges. The former president has already raised $2 million, Reuters reported.
Last week, Trump had warned his supporters of his imminent arrest. "Illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorney's office ... indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven ... the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week," the former president wrote on his Truth Social platform.
He exhorted his supporters to 'Take our nation back," adding that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday next week. The statement came a day after intense speculation gripped political circles over the possible indictment and arrest of the former president, which is by far an unprecedented step.