Donald Trump criminally indicted by a grand jury, a first for a former American president

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A New York grand jury on Thursday voted to indict former US President Donald Trump in a historic first, several media reported. He is accused of having paid 130,000 dollars to the actress and director of pornographic films Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence on an alleged affair.

A grand jury in a New York court has criminally indicted Donald Trump in a case of buying the silence of a porn actress in 2016, an unprecedented historical fact for a former American president, who denounced Thursday 30 march a “political persecution”.

The former tenant of the White House, who dreams of winning it back in 2024, should be very officially charged by Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg, dependent on New York justice, for the payment of 130,000 dollars to the actress of Stormy Daniels porn movies.

In a statement, the 45th President of the United States (2017-2021) derided “political persecution and interference in the November 2024 presidential election”. He again denounced a “witch hunt” which “will backfire against (Joe) Biden”, the Democratic president elected in November 2020 and whom Donald Trump has accused for more than two years of having “stolen” the victory. Just before him, one of his sons, Eric Trump, lambasted on Twitter “an opportunistic act targeting a political opponent in the middle of an election campaign”.

For Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, real name Stephanie Clifford, there is “nothing to celebrate”. “The difficult and conscientious work of grand jurors (panel of citizens with investigative powers who work in concert with prosecutors and vote on indictments, editor’s note) must be respected”, wrote on Twitter Clark Brewster. “Now that truth and justice prevail. No one is above the law.”

“Nobody above the law”

For years, New York justice has sought to determine whether the 76-year-old former Republican president was guilty of misrepresentation, a minor offense, or breach of campaign finance laws, a criminal offense, in having paid money to Stormy Daniels, just before his presidential victory in November 2016. For what purpose? For her to keep quiet about a supposed extramarital affair 10 years earlier in 2006.

According to New York State criminal procedure, prosecutor Bragg is supposed to comply with the vote of indictment of the grand jury, the proceedings of which are confidential.

In the coming days, once formally charged, former President Trump should in principle “go” to the Manhattan court to be served by a judge with his indictment, be briefly placed “under arrest”, photographed and his fingerprints taken. He will then have to plead guilty or not guilty.

The key man in the file is called Michael Cohen: former lawyer and now enemy of Donald Trump, he had paid Stormy Daniels. He testified before the grand jury, and the actress also cooperated with the law.

After having held America in suspense for ten days, this criminal indictment of Donald Trump still seemed this Thursday not to occur before the end of April. The press was buzzing with rumors in early March of a possible indictment of the Republican billionaire.

He had pulled off a political coup on March 18, claiming without any evidence on his Truth Social network that he would be “arrested” and appear in New York court three days later to be charged. But nothing had happened. And the country waited ten days for this indictment, a historic fact against a former American president.

Prosecutor challenged

All the press in New York and Washington still affirmed with one voice on Wednesday evening, citing sources familiar with the matter, that justice should not decide before April 24. Since March 20, the grand jury in New York had only met twice and no further calls were scheduled.

For his part, Donald Trump, who denies “any crime” and any connection with Stormy Daniels, had estimated on Sunday and Monday that the investigation was “dead”, a “fraud” and “electoral interference” orchestrated by “thugs” before 2024.

Accused by Donald Trump of being an “animal” and a “racist” and by Republicans of having a “political motive”, Prosecutor Bragg, an elected African-American Democrat, replied that the billionaire had “created a false waiting” media on his indictment and denounced an “interference” in the investigation.

With AFP

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