Donald Trump Indicted By Grand Jury On Charges Related To Business Fraud
After weeks of speculation, a Manhattan grand jury indicted former President Donald Trump Thursday evening, according to multiple reports. This is the first time in U.S. history that any president, current or former, has faced criminal charges.
Trump was indicted on more than 30 counts related to business fraud. The case revolves around an alleged $130K hush money payment made while Trump was on the campaign trail in 2016 to cover up an affair with adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, CNN reports.
Trump was at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, when the indictment was announced in Manhattan. The former president must travel to New York City for the arraignment. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office said in a statement that it has “contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender” to the DA’s office.
Trump was reportedly caught off guard by the indictment but is expected to turn himself in for arraignment on Tuesday, Susan Necheles, one of Trump’s lawyers, told The New York Times.
The indictment comes from Bragg’s investigation into Trump’s business dealings, with charges that Trump allegedly broke state laws by directing his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to make payments to Clifford and then reimbursing Cohen $420K via his real estate development company, The Trump Organization, NPR reports.
The House of Representatives launched a committee looking into Bragg’s investigation earlier this month, calling the Manhattan DA’s investigation “indefensible.” The charges don't prohibit Trump from running for president in 2024 — he's already announced plans to once again seek the Republican nomination.
Beyond Bragg’s indictment, Trump faces three other criminal investigations: from a Georgia county for his role in election interference in 2020 and from the Department of Justice for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.
In January, two of the Trump family businesses — Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp., both subsidiaries of The Trump Organization — were fined $1.6M after being found guilty on 17 counts of criminal tax fraud. According to prosecutors, the organization ran a years-long tax avoidance scheme that saw top executives taking perks off the books.
The trial’s star witness, Allen Weisselberg, who testified at trial as part of his plea bargain for his involvement in the scheme, told the jury Trump was aware of the fraudulent practices and that they stopped when he entered the White House. Trump himself was not on trial, and the company vowed to appeal, describing the prosecutors as “politically motivated."
The investigation that hits closest to home is the civil investigation into Trump underway in NYC, centered around his family's real estate business.
Trump, as well has his three eldest children and several Trump family businesses, are defendants in an ongoing civil fraud lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James that is set for trial in October. James’ office is seeking to ban Trump and his eldest children from working in New York real estate.
In announcing the lawsuit last September, James said her office uncovered 200 examples of the Trumps fraudulently misvaluing assets in order to score better loans from banks and to avoid paying taxes. James is seeking restitution of $250M and said at a press conference last year she is referring potential criminal activity her office uncovered in the investigation to U.S. attorneys.
Last week, James told Spectrum News 1 that any indictment of Trump wouldn't have an impact on her case and that the trial would proceed later this year as planned.