Trump becomes first US ex-president to face criminal charges
On Thursday, a New York grand jury indicted Donald Trump for hush money payments made to a pornographic actress during his 2016 presidential campaign, making him the first former US president to face criminal charges.
The historic indictment of the 76-year-old Republican, who denies any wrongdoing in relation to the payments made prior to the election that sent him to the White House, is certain to upend the current presidential race in which Trump hopes to regain the presidency.
And it will forever define the legacy of the former leader, who survived two impeachments and kept prosecutors at bay over everything from the US Capitol riot to the disappearance of classified documents, only to land in court over a sex scandal involving a 44-year-old adult film actress, Stormy Daniels.
Susan Necheles, Trump’s attorney, told newsmen she anticipates he will be arraigned on Tuesday of the following week.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg confirmed Thursday evening that it had contacted Trump’s attorneys to “coordinate his surrender” in New York, with the felony charges against him to be disclosed at that time.
Trump denounced the indictment as “political persecution and election interference,” lashing out at prosecutors and his Democratic opponents and threatening that it would backfire on his successor, President Joe Biden.
Surrendering for arraignment on as many as 30 counts of business fraud would typically involve being fingerprinted, photographed, and possibly handcuffed.
In the Republican camp, Trump’s allies and sons have denounced what they perceive to be a vendetta aimed at derailing his 2024 campaign, while Trump’s expected challenger for the party nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has criticised the indictment as “un-American.”
The top Republican in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, stated that the indictment had irreparably damaged the country. Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president and potential 2024 opponent, called it a “outrage” that would “further divide” the United States.
Adam Schiff, the chief prosecutor of Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019, termed it a “sobering and unprecedented development.”
“The indictment and arrest of a former president is unprecedented in the entire history of the United States,” Schiff said in a statement. However, the illegal conduct for which Trump has been charged is also egregious.
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