Former President Donald Trump has been indicted in criminal proceedings, becoming the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges.
U.S. media outlets report that Trump faces dozens of counts related to business fraud in a Thursday indictment from a Manhattan grand jury.
The charges are not known, as the indictment has been filed under seal, but reports say that it is in connection with Trump’s alleged role in a hush money payment scheme and cover-up involving adult film star Stormy Daniels.
The 76-year-old Republican leader is expected to appear in court Tuesday for his arraignment, reports say.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been investigating an alleged payment that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen made to Daniels before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an adulterous affair she said she had with Trump in 2006.
The ex-porn star claims the former president paid her $130,000 as hush money.
According to prosecutors, when Trump reimbursed the money to Cohen, the payment was recorded as legal fees but under business expense.
Prosecutors say this amounts to Trump falsifying business records, which is illegal in New York.
Responding to the legal procedure against him, Trump said the indictment amounts to “political persecution” and “election interference at the highest level of history.”
“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 said in a statement.
He called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “disgrace.” He was “doing Joe Biden’s dirty work,” according to Trump.
If Trump is arrested over the criminal charges, it will complicate Trump’s bid to return to power, as he is one of the frontrunners for the 2024 GOP nomination.
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