Manhattan jury indicts former president Donald Trump


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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND – MARCH 04: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 4, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland. Trump took questions from reporters over a range of topics including on the progress of his campaign and his opinions on the war in Ukraine. Conservatives gathered at the four-day annual conference to discuss the agenda of the Republican Party. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Hialeah Bever, Editor

Former president Donald Trump was officially indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last Thursday, marking the first time a president has been formally charged with a crime. Though the specificity of the indictment remains to be seen, Trump is expected to surrender early next week.

The charges stem from hush money payments, made on Trump’s behalf, during the 2016 presidential election to porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model, Karen McDougal. Both women had sexual encounters with the former president, and were paid to keep quiet about their experience as Trump launched his presidential campaign.

Daniels received $130,000 from Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who later received $420,000 as a reward for his involvement. Cohen also arranged for the publishing company of the National Enquirer to pay McDougal $150,000, ensuring that her story wouldn’t be published.

Though Trump has a multitude of legal threats in Washington and Atlanta, the investigation in Manhattan was considered the most pressing, though charges weren’t expected for several more weeks. Trump was invited to testify in front of a grand jury but declined. 

Instead, a lawyer closely associated with Trump, testified against their former employer, undercutting Cohen’s reliability. The former president has predicted his incident, and has called the investigation, “political persecution,” urging supporters to protest. 

Though Trump’s statement released on Thursday does not mention pushback, the New York Police Department has issued a warning to its 36,000 officers, citing possible unrest when Trump is taken in. 

Historically, a president has never been formally charged, so this indictment will be accompanied by many firsts. According to the Associated Press, “…the indictment sets up yet another never-before-seen spectacle — a former president having his fingerprints and mugshot taken, and then facing arraignment. For security reasons, his booking is expected to be carefully choreographed to avoid crowds inside or outside the courthouse.”