Washington, USA | Xinhua | Former U.S. President Donald Trump was indicted on Thursday for his role in an alleged hush-money payment to an adult film actress.
Multiple news media outlets, including The New York Times, ABC News, and The Washington Post, broke the news of Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury in the evening, quoting people familiar with the situation.
A statement from Trump lawyers Joe Tacopina and Susan Necheles confirmed that the former president was indicted.
“President Trump has been indicted. He did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court,” the statement said.
Trump responded in a statement, saying that “this is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history.”
Trump, 76, is said to be the first former U.S. president in American history to be indicted on criminal charges, which remain under seal.
The charges are not publicly known at this time, according to CNN, citing a source. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office will reportedly reach out to Trump’s attorneys to discuss his surrender to face an arraignment.
Bragg and his aides have been investigating Trump’s alleged role in a hush-money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The payment of 130,000 U.S. dollars was said to be used to prevent Daniels from going public about an alleged sexual encounter that she had with Trump in 2006.
Then Trump attorney Michael Cohen paid Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, before being reimbursed by the Trump Organization, which described the reimbursement as legal fees.
Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal charges, including campaign finance violations, and was sentenced in late 2018 to three years in prison.
“Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning,” Cohen said in a statement. “Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself.”
Trump, a Republican who won the 2016 White House race and served as U.S. president from 2017 to 2021, has denied that the affair happened, dismissed any wrongdoing, and charged that the inquiry is politically motivated.
The case has been closely watched as no former U.S. president has ever been indicted on criminal charges and Trump is running again for the White House.