Sunday, May 19, 2024

Donald Trump becomes first ex-US president to be criminally charged

After weeks of speculation, a New York grand jury voted on Thursday to indict Donald Trump, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, making him the first former president to face criminal prosecution in United States history.

Trump faces charges in an alleged hush-money payment made to a porn star ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The charges are not yet made public and the indictment will likely be announced in the coming days.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg issued a statement saying prosecutors are working with Trump’s lawyers to arrange his surrender. It also affirmed that, for now, the charges will remain under seal.

Trump had allegedly paid $130,000 to adult film actor Stormy Daniels through his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to keep her from going public about a sexual encounter she claimed to have had with him.

Cohen paid Daniels through a shell company before being reimbursed by the Trump Organization, which logged the reimbursements as legal expenses.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she had an affair with Trump, who is married. Cohen said he paid her on Trump’s orders.

“What I did, I did at the direction of, for the benefit, and in cooperation with Donald J Trump,” Cohen told the MSNBC broadcaster.

In a statement released through his 2024 presidential campaign, Trump called the indictment “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history”.

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