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Donald Trump Indicted by Manhattan Grand Jury — What Happens Next?

Donald Trump Indicted Arrested Video Statement
Donald Trump Indicted Arrested Video Statement
Getty Images

A Manhattan grand jury on Thursday voted to indict Donald Trump. The former U.S. president was facing charges stemming from hush money payments made to women with whom he allegedly had sexual encounters.

Multiple news outlets, including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the New York Times, have reported on the grand jury vote, citing sources, though no precise charges have been disclosed yet. The indictment is expected to be formally announced in the coming days, at which time Trump will be asked to surrender and face arraignment.

Trump’s indictment is historic, as no other U.S. president, sitting or former, has ever been charged with a crime. Trump, who served as the country’s 45th President from 2017-2021, has been pursuing a second White House bid since November.

As part of a years-long probe by the Manhattan district attorney, a grand jury heard from witnesses including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified that in 2016 he had facilitated payments to two women, to silence them about sexual encounters they claimed to have had with a married Trump a decade earlier.

Cohen testified that, as directed by Trump, he arranged payments — totaling $280,000, and classified internally as “legal expenses” — to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, to buy their silence while Trump made what would be his first successful White House run. Cohen says he was reimbursed for Daniels’ “hush money” via personal checks from Trump.

As for McDougal, The National Enquirer, acting in cooperation with Cohen and other members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, had bought the rights to her story for $150,000, as a means to keep it from ever seeing the light of day.

In August 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to crimes related to his role in making the above payments, and served a three-year prison sentence.

Trump all along has denied that the sexual encounters occurred. He has contended that the investigation is a “witch hunt” led by Manhattan DA Alvin L. Bragg, a Democrat who is now the first prosecutor to indict a former U.S. president.

Besides the hush money inquiry, Trump faces criminal investigations in both Atlanta and Washington over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, special counsel for the Justice Department has been presenting evidence before a grand jury regarding Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida estate, which were seized in August 2022; it is not clear if that investigation will result in criminal charges.

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