A grand jury has voted to criminally indict Donald Trump, the first time in US history that this has happened to a former president
A grand jury has voted to indict Donald Trump in New York over a hush money payment made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.
This is the first time in US history a former president has faced a criminal indictment.
The charges remained under seal but the investigation centred on payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter.
The former president will appear in court for his arraignment on Tuesday, several outlets have reported.
The former president has responded with an attack on Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, saying, the indictment amounted to “political persecution”. “I can’t get a fair trial in New York”, he wrote on Truth Social.
Democrats said if Donald Trump broke the law, he should face charges like any American. Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer added: “There should be no outside political influence, intimidation or interference in the case. I encourage both Mr Trump’s critics and supporters to let the process proceed peacefully and according to the law.” California Democrat Adam Schiff said: “The indictment of a former president is unprecedented. But so too is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged.”
Republicans across the country, including Trump’s potential rivals, criticised the indictment. House speaker Kevin McCarthy vowed that the House of Representatives “would hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account”. Mike Pence, a potential Trump rival for the presidential nomination, said the indictment sends a “terrible message” about the US justice system to the world. Republican senator Lindsey Graham, a longtime Trump ally, called it a “shocking and dangerous day for the rule of law in America”.
Stormy Daniels celebrated the news, saying: “I have so many messages coming in that I can’t respond … also don’t want to spill my champagne.”
Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who was expected to run against Trump for the Republican nomination, said his state would not assist in any extradition request for the former president.
Reports suggest Donald Trump’s team was surprised by the timing of the announcement and was not expecting it on Thursday evening. Donald Trump was in Mar-a-Lago when it was announced.
Donald Trump will be will be fingerprinted, photographed and processed for a felony arrest. It is unclear whether he will be handcuffed when he surrenders. Multiple sources close to the former president have said he wanted to be handcuffed when he appears in court.
All of New York’s police have been put on duty for Friday, with NBC quoting a police memo stating that the order applied to “all officers regardless of rank”. It reported that the memo instructed officers to be aware of “unusual disorder” duties.