Report: Grand Jury Votes to Indict Trump

March 30, 2023

A grand jury in Manhattan has voted to indict former President Trump for his role in a 2016 hush money payment to the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels, the New York Times reported Thursday evening.

The felony indictment was filed under seal by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, but will likely be announced officially in the coming days.

The reported indictment comes after former Trump attorney and self-described “fixer” Michael Cohen testified twice before the grand jury. 

Cohen had pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal crimes and served prison time for his role in the Daniels’ payoff of $130,000, a campaign contribution violation during the 2016 election cycle, since the payment, according to Cohen, was made to keep Daniels quiet about a sexual affair she had with Trump in the days just ahead of Election Day that year, was made in service of the Trump campaign and $130,000 exceeded the federal limit.

The former Trump fixer has asserted that he paid the hush money out of his own personal funds, then was reimbursed by the Trump Organization and also paid extra bonuses for a total that eventually rose to $420,000.

Trump has consistently denied all wrongdoing and has accused Bragg, a Democrat, of leading a politically motivated prosecution. Trump has also denied any affair with Daniels.

The specific charges from Bragg’s office remain unknown, but legal experts have surmised that one potential crime could be the way the payments to Cohen were structured and falsely classified internally as being for a legal retainer. New York has a law against falsifying business records, but it’s a misdemeanor—unless the falsifying of records is done in conjunction with a more serious felony.

Security in New York City was beefed up earlier Thursday in anticipation of a Trump indictment. U.S. Secret Service had already been coordinating with the NYPD to discuss logistics, including court security as well as how Trump would potentially surrender for booking and processing. 

The criminal indictment of a former U.S. President is an unprecedented act in U.S. history. An indictment in Manhattan could potentially open the door for other prosecutors as Trump is under criminal investigation not just in New York, but also in Georgia and the federal government for his role in attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.

PHOTO: Manhattan Criminal Courthouse

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