Manhattan prosecutors have indicted Donald Trump after a lengthy investigation, making him the first former US President to face criminal charges.
Trump's lawyers stated that he was indicted despite not committing any crimes and they will challenge the political prosecution with full strength.
The DA's office confirmed sealed charges. Trump will turn himself in for arraignment on Tuesday, according to a report by the Financial Times.
Former President Donald Trump, a Republican presidential hopeful for 2024, faces charges after a grand jury in New York heard testimonies from witnesses, including his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who claimed that Trump instructed him to pay $130,000 to adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, in 2016 to keep quiet about their alleged affair.
The New York Times reported the indictment, but the charges were unclear.
In response to being informed of the charges, Trump declared the accusations to be the highest level of political persecution and election interference in history. He made a statement claiming that the Democrats have been obsessed with trying to "get Trump", and now they have gone too far by indicting a person who he believes to be completely innocent.
The Manhattan district attorney's office, led by Democrats, has been investigating for four years whether the payments made to Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, violated election laws. Michael Cohen, who plead guilty to campaign finance violations related to the payment, was sentenced to three years in jail in 2018.
Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has brought unprecedented charges after two weeks of intense speculation about the investigation that started when Trump announced his expectation of being arrested.
Earlier this week, media reports indicated that the grand jury hearing evidence was prepared to take a break from its work, prompting observers to question if the investigation had come to a standstill.
Trump will face criminal charges, undergo fingerprinting and photographing, enter a plea in Manhattan courthouse, and be released on bail, just like anyone else, as per reports.
Expecting pushback from Trump supporters, the indictment is likely to trigger controversy in Washington and beyond. Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have already defended Trump, accusing Bragg of having weaponized justice against him.
Last November after the midterm elections, Trump was the first Republican candidate to announce his intentions. To date, only Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy have officially launched campaigns against him.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who some view as a top opponent to former President Trump, criticized a prosecutor for allegedly targeting him in a tweet on Thursday by "stretching the law."
Senior executives at the Trump Organization carried out a 13-year tax fraud scheme, resulting in criminal conviction by Manhattan DA's office against the former president's businesses in the last year.
The New York attorney-general's office has filed a civil case against Trump over financial fraud related to his organization. Additionally, he is being investigated in Georgia for allegedly trying to change the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
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