Donald Trump indictment: Ex-US president to be charged over hush money
A New York grand jury on Thursday indicted former US President Donald Trump over hush money payments made to a porn star during his 2016 campaign. This makes him the first former US president to face criminal charges, but the charges have not been made public.
Charges in New York come after a years-long investigation into a payment made by Trump’s personal lawyer to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. A grand jury has voted to indict him after investigating a $130,000 pay-out to Stormy Daniels in an attempt to silence her over an alleged affair.
Trump, who seeks the Republican nomination to run again in 2024, has branded all of the investigations political persecution.
The indictment itself remains sealed for now in the first criminal case ever brought against a former US president. Trump said in the statement that he was “completely innocent.”
TRUMP CALLS IT POLITICAL PERSECUTION
“This is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history,” he said, providing no evidence.
The incident was confirmed by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has been carrying on the investigation.
“This evening we contacted Trump’s attorney to co-ordinate his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” said the statement.
The specific charges are not yet known and the indictment will likely be unsealed by a judge in the coming days, reported news agency Reuters. Trump will have to travel to Manhattan for fingerprinting and other processing at that point.
HUSH MONEY CHARGES
Stormy Daniels has said she received money in exchange for keeping silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006.
The former president’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has said he coordinated with Trump on the payments to Daniels and to a second woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also said she had a sexual relationship with him.
Donald Trump has denied he had any sexual involvement with Daniels since the allegations surfaced in 2018. He later acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a “simple private transaction.”
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said in media interviews that she met Trump at a charity golf tournament in July 2006, reported the BBC. Days before the US Presidential election, Daniels said Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen paid her $130,000 in “hush money” to keep her quiet about the affair.
She said she took it because she was concerned for the safety of her family.
Trump’s lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said they will “vigorously fight” the charges. Trump’s allies and Republicans have termed the indictment as “politically motivated”. A comment from the White House is still awaited.