A grand jury in New York has voted in favor of criminally indicting Donald Trump

Donald Trump aboard his plane, March 25, 2023, heading to Florida, after a campaign rally in Waco, Texas.

A grand jury in a New York court has voted to indict Donald Trump, US media reported Thursday, March 30.

The former tenant of the White House, who dreams of winning it back in 2024, should be officially charged in the coming days by Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg, dependent on New York justice, for the payment, during the presidential campaign of 2016, of 130,000 (approximately 119,000 euros) to the actress of pornographic films Stormy Daniels, in order to silence the allegations of an extramarital sexual relationship in 2006, report in particular the New York Times and CNN, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Joe Tacopina, one of Donald Trump’s attorneys, said he was made aware of the indictment, making his client the first former US president to be criminally charged.

“We contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney tonight to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan District Attorney for a Supreme Court arraignment hearing” of New York, said in a brief statement a spokesperson for the Manhattan prosecution. The indictment remains for the time being. “under seal” and the date of the hearing is not known at this time, according to the statement. CNN mentions around thirty charges revolving around fraud to conceal the circulation and accounting at the end of 2016 of the 130,000 dollars.

Donald Trump quickly denounced a “political persecution” in a very long statement. “They did the unthinkable, they charged a completely innocent person, in a blatant act of election interference”he says in a very offensive text. “I am certain that this witch hunt will turn violently against Joe Biden”, he assures. Eric Trump, one of his sons, referred to, on Twitterand ” opportunistic act targeting a political opponent in the middle of an election campaign”.

“No one is above the law”said, for his part, Clark Brewster, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels. “Donald Trump’s indictment is no cause for celebration”, he assured on Twitter. “Now let truth and justice prevail”he added.

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Donald Trump denies “any crime”

The Republican camp quickly came out in support of the former president. The decision to indict Trump has “irreparably damaged our country”denounced the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy. “The American people will not tolerate this injustice”, he assured on Twittercriticizing a “unprecedented abuse of power” from the prosecutor, Alvin Bragg.

Donald Trump’s Republican rival, Ron DeSantis, has estimated that this next indictment is “contrary to the values ​​of America”and criticized a “instrumentalization of the judicial system”. The governor of Florida, who is flirting with a candidacy in 2024, assured that his state, in which Donald Trump resides, would not respond favorably “to a request for extradition” of the former president.

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In the days to come – Tuesday, April 4, mentioned one of his lawyers, Susan Necheles – Mr. Trump will therefore have to ” render “ to the Manhattan court to be served with his indictment by a judge, to be briefly and symbolically placed ” under arrest “, photographed and his fingerprints taken. He will have to plead guilty or not guilty.

Donald Trump had pulled off a political coup on March 18 by claiming, without any evidence, on his Truth Social network that he would be ” stopped “ and would appear in a New York court three days later to be charged. Nothing had happened immediately, and the country waited ten days for this possible indictment.

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Since March 20, a grand jury – a panel of citizens with investigative powers that works alongside prosecutors and votes on indictments – has met only twice and no further calls were scheduled. For his part, Donald Trump, who denies “any offence” and any connection with Stormy Daniels, had estimated Sunday and Monday that the investigation was ” death “a ” scam “ and an “election interference” orchestrated by “thugs” before the 2024 presidential election.

Michael Cohen, the key man

For years, 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, by having paid money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, just before her November 2016 presidential victory.

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

Accused by Mr. Trump of being a « animal » and one “racist” and by Republicans to have a “political motivation”Prosecutor Bragg, an elected African-American Democrat, replied that the billionaire had “created a false expectation” media on his indictment and denounced a “interference” in the survey.

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Le Monde with AP and AFP