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What we know about Donald Trump’s unprecedented indictment

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What we know about Donald Trump’s unprecedented indictment

Trump tieless in a navy suit and white shirt, is seen in profile, standing between rows of flapping US flags, his plane, reading TRUMP behind him. He’s looking down, his MAGA hat in his hand.
Former President Donald Trump at his first 2024 campaign rally, days before reports of his indictment. | Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Donald Trump has been indicted. Here’s what happens next.

A Manhattan grand jury voted Thursday to indict former President Donald Trump in connection with hush money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign, according to multiple news reports. He is the first former president to be charged with a crime.

It’s not clear exactly what the charges are, though previous reports have indicated he’d be charged with falsification of business records to cover up a crime. The indictment was filed under seal, and the Manhattan district attorney’s office is expected to announce the charges in the coming days and to ask Trump to surrender and face arraignment.

Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for the Trump Organization and the star witness in the case, who paid Daniels $130,000 to stay silent about her relationship with Trump, suggested in a statement Thursday that he wanted to see Trump held to account. Cohen stood by his testimony and the evidence he provided to the prosecutor’s office, but also urged the public to give the former president the “presumption of innocence.”

“I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former president,” he said. “Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning. Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself.”

In a statement Thursday, Trump called the indictment “Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” framing it as another partisan “Witch Hunt” and compared it to his two impeachments and the FBI search of his home at Mar-a-Lago to retrieve classified documents. Trump also took aim at Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who pushed the case, and urged his supporters to throw Democrats out of office.

“The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable - indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference,” he wrote.

MAGA-world figures rushed to Trump’s defense Thursday. His son Eric Trump called it “third world prosecutorial misconduct.” Mike Pompeo, Trump’s former Secretary of State, warned that it was “undermining America’s confidence in our legal system.” And even his opponent in the 2024 Republican primary, Vivek Ramaswamy, called the indictment “politically motivated” and marking a “dark moment in American history.”

It might be only the first of several indictments to drop. Trump is also facing probes into his business dealings, interference in the 2020 election in Georgia, withholding of classified documents after he left office, and his role in inciting the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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