Donald Trump Indicted by Manhattan Grand Jury

0
104
Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, U.S., March 25, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Donald Trump has maintained his innocence and has accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of political persecution and election interference

NEW YORK CITY – Former US President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury over the hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. This marks the first time a former US president has faced criminal charges, even as he plans another run for the White House in 2024. While the specific charges remain under seal, CNN reports that Trump is facing over 30 counts related to business fraud.

Trump has maintained his innocence and has accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of political persecution and election interference. The former president has appealed to his supporters for financial support for his legal defence, and he has already raised over RM8.81 million. Trump’s lawyers, Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina have vowed to vigorously fight the charges.

The hush money paid to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was exchanged for her silence about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said he coordinated the payments with Trump. The former president initially denied knowing anything about the payment, but later admitted to reimbursing Cohen for it.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks towards his plane during his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, U.S., March 25, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks towards his plane during his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, U.S., March 25, 2023. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Read Also: The Zombie Case: Manhattan’s Investigation into President Trump’s Hush Money Payments

Legal experts expect Bragg to argue that Trump falsified business records to cover up another crime, such as violating federal campaign finance law, which is a felony. While Trump could use this case to stoke anger among his core supporters, some 44% of Republicans in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll said he should drop out of the race if indicted.

Aside from this case, Trump faces two other criminal investigations by a special counsel appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland and another criminal probe by a local prosecutor in Georgia. While Trump has escaped legal peril numerous times in the past, the Manhattan investigation and the other criminal probes could present significant challenges for him in the coming months.

The Legal Battles and Potential Implications for the 2024 Presidential Race

The charges against Trump come at a crucial time as he is the frontrunner to be the Republican nominee in 2024. Trump could use the case to stoke anger among his core supporters, though other Republican voters might tire of the drama. Some 44% of Republicans said he should drop out of the race if he is indicted, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week. How much the case affects the election could have profound implications beyond US borders. While president between 2017 and 2021, Trump regularly clashed with allies over trade and defence, and a return to the Oval Office looks set to weaken US support for Ukraine.

A giant sign is seen displayed outside Manhattan Criminal Court after former U.S. President Donald Trump's indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
A giant sign is seen displayed outside Manhattan Criminal Court after former U.S. President Donald Trump’s indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, U.S., March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The charges against Trump could further divide the country, with international media camped outside the Manhattan courthouse. Authorities have bolstered security around the courthouse after Trump called for nationwide protests. The legal battle is expected to be protracted, and any potential trial is still at least more than a year away, legal experts said, meaning it could occur during or after the presidential campaign.

In conclusion, the indictment of Donald Trump by a Manhattan grand jury for hush money payments to Stormy Daniels marks a significant development in the legal challenges facing the former president. While the specific charges remain unknown, the case is expected to focus on business fraud related to the payments made to Daniels. Trump maintains his innocence and has accused the Manhattan District Attorney of political persecution and election interference. Legal experts expect the case to be closely watched in the coming months, as Trump continues his bid for the 2024 Republican nomination. – Reuters