The charges from an investigation led by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg come as Trump seeks the Republican nomination to run again in 2024. Trump’s lawyers have confirmed that he will surrender for arraignment in New York upon indictment.
Here is an FAQs on Trump’s indictment:
What is an indictment?
An indictment is a charging document presented to a court that accuses one or more people of crimes. It outlines who is charged, what charges they face, and how they allegedly broke the law. Every defendant in the US is presumed innocent until their guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors must prove all the elements of a crime to secure a conviction.
Trump’s lawyer says he was informed of the charges and pledged to ‘swiftly and aggressively’ fight them.
Who issues an indictment?
In New York, as many as 23 citizens known as a grand jury votes on an indictment. Grand jurors are an investigative body who meet in secret to consider evidence and hear testimony from witnesses without potential defendants being present. Prosecutors question witnesses, but grand jurors can ask questions as well. Grand jurors will indict if they believe prosecutors presented sufficient evidence.
Does someone who is indicted get arrested?
In some cases, someone may be indicted after they’re arrested, especially in murders and other violent crimes. After an indictment, a defendant may either surrender to authorities or be arrested.
What are the accusations against Trump?
While the specific charges have not been publicly disclosed, prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to bring a criminal case against Trump. The $130,000 payment made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, allegedly to keep her quiet about her sexual encounter with Trump, appears to have involved subterfuge. Trump initially denied knowledge of the payment, but former US president’s lawyer Michael Cohen provided US Congress with check images signed by Trump, claiming they were reimbursements for the payment. Cohen also stated that the payments were falsely labeled as legal expenses to conceal their true purpose.
What has Trump said about the indictment
Minutes after the indictment was announced Thursday, Trump released a lengthy statement calling it the next step in a campaign from the left “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’s statement said.
Trump accused Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg of “doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on.”
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the former president is a victim “of a corrupt and distorted version of the American justice system and history. He will be vindicated.”
Who is Stormy Daniels
A porn actor who’s also had bit parts in mainstream films like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about what she says was an awkward and unexpected sexual encounter with Trump at a celebrity golf outing in Lake Tahoe in 2006. Trump denies having sex with Daniels.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid the money in the final weeks of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign after her representative said she was willing to make on-the-record statements to the National Enquirer or on television confirming a sexual encounter with Trump.
Daniels attempted to capitalize on her newfound notoriety after news of the payment became public, embarking on a nationwide strip club tour in 2018. During a stop in Columbus, Ohio, Daniels was arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching an undercover officer, but the charges were dropped hours later.
Her former lawyer, Michael Avenatti, is serving 11 years in prison for extortion and fraud, including a conviction for stealing $297,000 in proceeds from Daniels’ 2018 book, ‘Full Disclosure’.
Will Trump be handcuffed and paraded before cameras?
The former 45th president, who is the first ex-president to be indicted, will undergo standard booking procedures including fingerprinting and a mug shot when he appears in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan to face charges, according to court officials. However, it is unlikely that he will be handcuffed or subjected to a media frenzy known as the “perp walk”. Instead, he will probably be released on his own recognizance and accompanied by his Secret Service detail. His lawyer, Joe Tacopina, stated that his client will surrender to authorities and will likely be arraigned as early as Tuesday. Tacopina added that they are disappointed with the charges but will aggressively fight them to pursue justice in the case.
Will Trump be imprisoned? Can he run for office while under indictment?
It will ultimately be up to the state-court judge overseeing Trump’s case to decide whether or not to detain him or restrict his travel while the case is pending. It is legal for him to continue campaigning while facing criminal charges, and even if he were jailed. However, if he were to win the presidency while facing charges or a conviction, there are constitutional questions about whether a state court could prevent him from serving in a federal office.
How will the indictment affect other ongoing investigations into Trump?
The indictment in Manhattan is not likely to have a significant impact on other investigations into Trump. There are multiple ongoing probes that pose a risk of more criminal charges for Trump, including a grand jury investigation in Fulton County, GA, into his efforts to overturn the election results in that state, and two federal probes led by special counsel Jack Smith. If a federal criminal case against Trump were filed, it would take precedence over any local cases. While concurrent criminal proceedings could cause some logistical issues, federal and local prosecutors typically work to resolve any conflicts.
How long will it take for Trump to go to trial?
It will likely take many months to commence a trial for a former US president, even if both sides were eager to proceed quickly. Legal and constitutional questions would need to be addressed, which could stretch into the 2024 primary season. Trump’s tendency to delay legal proceedings could further prolong the process. Trump’s lawyers could file pre-trial motions, such as moving the case to federal court or seeking dismissal or reduction of the charges. The criminal tax case filed against the Trump Organization in the same court in 2021 took approximately 15 months to reach trial, and the focus on Trump personally in the new case is likely to cause further delays.
-With inputs from agencies