Former United States President Donald Trump has been indicted in relation to a New York investigation into an alleged hush-money payment made to a porn star before the 2016 presidential election.
After weeks of speculation, a New York grand jury voted on Thursday to indict Trump, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, making him the first former president to face criminal prosecution in US history.Court officials have said the arraignment will take place on Tuesday, although the specific charges are not yet known and the indictment will likely be announced in the coming days.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg issued a statement saying prosecutors are working with Trump’s lawyers to arrange his surrender.
It also affirmed that, for now, the charges will remain under seal. “Guidance will be provided when the arraignment [court appearance] date is selected,” the district attorney’s office said through a spokesperson.
In a statement released through his 2024 presidential campaign, Trump called the indictment “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history”.He said the case was part of a coordinated “witch hunt” against him, adding that he is completely innocent.
Trump was reportedly at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate where he has primarily resided since leaving office, when news of the indictment broke.
On Friday, Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show that the president planned to surrender willingly and “is not going to hole up in Mar-a-Lago”.
The New York investigation centres on a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the former president’s 2016 campaign.