Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges.
The New York Times has more:
An indictment will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.
Mr. Bragg and his lawyers will likely attempt to negotiate Mr. Trump’s surrender. If he agrees, it will raise the prospect of a former president, with the Secret Service in tow, being photographed and fingerprinted in the bowels of a New York State courthouse.
On Thursday, the three lead prosecutors on the Trump investigation walked into the building where the grand jury was sitting in the minutes before the panel was scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. One of them carried a copy of the penal law — with Post-it notes visible — which was likely used to read the criminal statutes to the grand jurors before they voted. About three hours later, the prosecutors walked into the court clerk’s office through a back door to begin the process of filing the indictment.
Fox News reported Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) is also investigating a $150,000 payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Specific charges remain unknown.
Great America News Desk previously reported that prosecutors are expected to charge Trump with a felony by arguing that the alleged crime was committed to hide an illegal campaign contribution. The potential problem for Trump centers around how his company reimbursed former attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to related charges and served time in prison.
The payment to Daniels was listed as a legal expense and Trump’s company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist and the reimbursement was not related to any legal services from Cohen, thus setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records. A report by NBC News said that Trump personally signed several of the checks to Cohen while he was serving as president.
Prosecutors can elevate the misdemeanor to a felony if they can prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”
Prosecutors argue that the second crime is that the $130,000 hush payment was an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was used to stop a story to benefit his presidential campaign.
Trump issued a scathing statement following the news:
“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history,” Trump said. “From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats — the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country — have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement.”
“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,” Trump claimed. “Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done.”
“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace,” Trump said. “Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!”
Several conservative lawmakers and commentators reacted to the news on Twitter.
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