Donald Trump has been indicted.First ex-president to be charged with a crime

NEW YORK—Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan. This is a historic reckoning after years of investigation into his personal, political and business dealings and the sudden shock of his bid to retake the White House.

The exact nature of the charges was unclear Friday as the charges remained sealed, but they stemmed from payments made during the 2016 presidential election to silence allegations of extramarital sex. Prosecutors said they were working to coordinate Trump’s surrender, which could take place early next week. They declined to say whether they would seek a prison sentence if convicted.

The first indictment against the former U.S. president pushes the local district attorney’s office into the center of a nationwide presidential campaign, spearheading criminal charges in the city the former president called home for decades. was indicted at a serious time, the accusation has drawn attention from those who believe they have failed to be held accountable and, like Trump, who feel that Republicans are being targeted for political purposes by Democratic prosecutors. It is likely to reinforce rather than reshape people’s views of dueling.

Trump, who has denied wrongdoing and has repeatedly denounced the investigation, called the indictment “political persecution” and predicted it would hurt Democrats in 2024. In a statement confirming the accusations, defense attorneys Susan Necheres and Joseph Tacopina said Trump “never committed a crime.” any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court. “

A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office confirmed the charges and said prosecutors had contacted Trump’s legal team to coordinate the surrender. Tacopina said it was “highly” likely that Trump would appear on Tuesday.

“We’re looking at these logistics right now,” Tacopina said Friday morning on NBC’s “Today.”

Tacopina insisted Trump wouldn’t take a plea bargain: “No crime.”

Trump was asked to surrender on Friday, but his lawyer said the Secret Service needed additional time to prepare security, two people familiar with the matter said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was unable to discuss the details of the security publicly.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg left the office Thursday night without comment.

The case centers on well-documented allegations from the 2016 period when Trump’s celebrity past collided with his political ambitions. The money paid to Playboy model Karen McDougal has been scrutinized.

The timing of the indictment appeared to come as a surprise to Trump campaign officials after news reports said criminal charges were likely to be weeks away. The former president was at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida mansion on Thursday to film an interview with a conservative commentator earlier in the day.

For a man whose presidency was defined by successively expunged norms, the indictment sets yet another never-before-seen spectacle — the former president was fingerprinted and mugshotted, then arraigned. facing. For security reasons, his appointment is expected to be carefully choreographed to avoid crowding inside and outside the courthouse.

The indictment also means Trump must fight for freedom and his political future at the same time, as well as attempts by him and his allies to cancel the 2020 presidential election, as well as hundreds of classified documents. .

In fact, New York was until recently seen as unlikely to be the first place to indict Trump. and has nothing to do with his highly publicized efforts to overturn the election.

The indictments come as Trump reasserts control of the Republican Party and seeks to stem a number of former allies that could threaten his bid for the presidential nomination. Governor Ron DeSantis called the charges “un-American” in a statement Thursday night, but didn’t explicitly mention Trump by name.

In indicting, Manhattan District Attorney Bragg is tapping an unusual case investigated by two previous sets of prosecutors who refused to take the politically explosive step of seeking an indictment of Trump. The case may also rely in part on the testimony of a key witness, former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

The investigation was unclear until news broke in early March that Mr. Bragg had invited Mr. Trump to testify before a grand jury.

Trump’s lawyers declined the invitation, but lawyers with close ties to the former president testified briefly to discredit Cohen.

Trump himself raised hopes that he would be indicted soon, releasing a statement earlier this month predicting imminent arrests and calling for protests. I didn’t repeat myself, but the New York Police Department is fully mobilized to 36,000 officers, ready to respond to potential protests and unrest.

Later in the 2016 presidential election, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to silence what Daniels said about having a sexual encounter with Trump after they met at a celebrity golf tournament a decade ago.

Cohen was subsequently reimbursed by Trump’s firm, the Trump Organization, which gave bonuses to lawyers and additional payments that were recorded internally as legal fees. Over the month, the company reportedly paid him $420,000.

In early 2016, Cohen also arranged for the publishers of the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, to pay McDougal $150,000, a journalistically dubious practice known as “catch and kill.” and squashed her story of the Trump case.

The payment to the woman was intended to buy a secret, but it quickly backfired when the details of the arrangement were leaked to the news media.

Federal prosecutors in New York eventually indicted Cohen for violating federal campaign finance laws in 2018, arguing that the payments amounted to unacceptable support for Trump’s presidential campaign. Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges unrelated to these charges and served time in federal prison.

Court filings implicated Trump as being aware of the arrangement — obliquely referred to as “Personal 1” in the indictment — but U.S. prosecutors at the time were reluctant to charge him. The Justice Department has a long-standing policy of not prosecuting sitting presidents in federal court.

Bragg’s predecessor as district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., opened the investigation in 2019. That investigation initially focused on hush-money payments, but Vance’s prosecutors have said Trump’s It moved on to other issues, including examining commercial transactions and tax strategies.

Vance eventually indicted the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer for tax evasion related to fringe benefits paid to some of the company’s executives.

The hush-money issue became known in the DA’s office as the “zombie case,” and prosecutors regularly reviewed it but never chose to prosecute.

Bragg saw it differently. After the Trump Organization was convicted of tax evasion charges in December, he hired longtime white-collar prosecutor Matthew Colangelo to oversee the investigation and convened a new grand jury to bring freshness to a well-worn case. I turned my eyes.

Cohen became a key witness, meeting with prosecutors almost 20 times, producing emails, recordings and other evidence, and testifying before a grand jury.

President Trump has long denounced the Manhattan investigation as “the biggest witch hunt in history.” He also lashed out at Bragg, calling the prosecutor, who is black, a racist against whites.

Criminal charges in New York are the latest salvo in a deep division between Trump and his hometown – getting rich, building famous skyscrapers, hobnobbing with celebrities, pages of the city’s gossip press A once-favorite son’s calculation that adorned the

Trump, who famously said in 2016 that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone” and “wouldn’t lose a voter,” now has more than 75% of voters. his freedom is threatened. Potential jurors of which opposed him in the last election.

Tucker and Long reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Bobby Kyna Calvin, Jill Colvin, and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report. Donald Trump has been indicted.First ex-president to be charged with a crime

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