Former US President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, the first indictment against a former president, for payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter. The exact nature of the charges remains unclear as the indictment remains under seal. However, prosecutors said they were working to coordinate Trump’s surrender, which could happen early next week.
The indictment injects a local district attorney’s office into the heart of a national presidential race and initiates criminal proceedings in a city where Trump resided for decades. The charges are likely to reinforce rather than reshape dueling perspectives of those who see accountability as long overdue and those who feel that Trump is being targeted for political purposes by a Democratic prosecutor.
Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing, called the indictment “political persecution” and predicted it would damage Democrats in 2024. In a statement confirming the charges, defense lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said Trump “did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court.” The indictment comes as Trump seeks to reassert control of the Republican Party and stave off a slew of one-time allies who may threaten his bid for the presidential nomination.
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