Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury empaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office — the first time a former president has been criminally charged in the history of the United States.
The indictment is under seal, and the exact charges are unknown. However, they stem from a $130,000 illegal hush payment Trump is accused of facilitating through his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, to adult film star Stormy Daniels, to cover up an affair the two of them had during the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen was sentenced to prison in that scheme over charges of bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations, and since being released has given information to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg in the case against his former boss.
The indictment of Trump comes after a long on-again, off-again investigation by New York prosecutors. Bragg originally declined to press charges against Trump as part of an investigation of his business practices, a move that generated controversy and led to criticism from former prosecutors in the office.
Ahead of the indictment, Trump called for his supporters to stage protests — which prompted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to step in and urge against violence.
Trump is widely expected to continue his campaign for president in 2024, regardless of the charges against him.
This is not the only criminal investigation of the former president. In Georgia, Fulton County DA Fani Willis is investigating him as part of her probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia — including the effort to seat fake Trump electors and the former president’s phone call with Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding he “find” extra votes to win the state for him.
Meanwhile, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump on two different fronts: his role in the incitement of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and his efforts to confiscate and improperly stash highly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida. Either of those could result in federal charges.