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International News: Donald Trump indictment: Ex-U.S. president to be charged over hush money

donald trump

Posted: Friday, March 31, 2023. 3:40 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Former United States president Donald Trump faces criminal charges, yet to be specified, on indictment concerning ‘hush money’ payments to an adult entertainment performer made before the 2016 presidential election, the BBC reports.

A grand jury has voted to indict him after investigating a US$130,000 pay-out to Stephanie Clifford (alias Stormy Daniels) in an attempt to buy her silence over an alleged affair.

Trump, 76, denies wrongdoing but becomes the first serving or former US president to face a criminal charge, and is expected to surrender to the office of Manhattan (New York County) District Attorney Alvin Bragg next Tuesday, per CBS News.

Clifford in 2016 contacted media outlets offering to sell her account of an alleged adulterous affair with Trump ten years earlier, before he married his current wife, but was dissuaded by a payout made through then-attorney Michael Cohen, which is not strictly illegal. What is being alleged is that when Trump reimbursed Cohen, it was described in the records as being for legal fees which may be misdemeanour falsification of business records as well as a potential felony election law violation for trying to hide the affair from voters.

While not likely to be “perp walked” and handcuffed, he would have to submit to have his fingerprints and mugshot taken.

But Trump, still leading the current Republican Party field for president in 2024, has tried to get out in front of the charges, leaking the potential indictment some days ago and attacking the District Attorney and his Democratic Party cohorts as “disgraces…doing [President] Joe Biden’s dirty work. In a statement, he added, “The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable – indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference.”

Bragg dismissed that claim and in any event, nothing in U.S. law prevents a candidate from campaigning to be or serving as president if found guilty of a crime. Trump has previously been twice impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives and faced disqualification from office if convicted by the Senate, but was acquitted both times.

Trump is also being investigated in several other cases. They include probes into his role in the U.S. Capitol riot of January 2021, his efforts to overturn his loss in the state of Georgia in the 2020 election, and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.

 

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