Donald Trump is now the first former US president to be indicated in a criminal case after a grand jury probe into hush money payments made on his behalf during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump has denied wrong doing and accuses prosecutors of engaging in a politically motivated ‘witch hunt’ to damage his campaign. This indictment would not deter him from continuing to run for presidency.
Though the charges were not made public, the grand jury has been probing hush money payments to two women who claimed to have sex with Trump. Details of those payments were made public only after he was elected as President in 2016.
Here’s a look at the hush money case, the grand jury investigation and possible ramifications of Trump’s presidential campaign:
What’s This Case About?
The former president is under the scanner for money payments to two women who claimed to have sexual relationship with him, including a $130,000 payment made just before the 2016 election to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public about the encounter she had with Trump years earlier. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen paid Daniels through a shell company before being reimbursed by Trump Organisation as legal expenses.
In 2016, Cohen also arranged for former Playboy Model Karen McDougal to be paid $150,000 by the publisher of a tabloid.
What Is An Indictment And What Are The Charges?
The grand jury has voted to indict Trump, though he denies having sexual relation with either woman.
An indictment is not same as an arrest, it’s a formal charge of crime, while an arrest is when a person is taken into custody, though in Trump’s case an arrest is not likely. Trump's campaign called the vote to indict "political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history."
The indictment is not unsealed, so the charges are not clear. As per experts, Trump could be charged with falsifying business records, which can be a misdemeanor or a felony under New York law. To secure a conviction on a felony charge, prosecutors would have to prove that records were falsified with the intention of committing or concealing a second crime, as per Mint report.
What Happens Next?
The Law enforcement officials have been making security preparations for days for the possibility of an indictment and a court appearance by the former US president. The law enforcement is taking Trump’s call for action very seriously post the US capital riot on Jan 6,2021; believing that there are chances of widespread rioting like the one which occurred previously.
Who Is Stormy Daniels?
Story Daniels is an adult film star who is central to the case Manhattan prosecutors are building against the former president.
Daniels alleges that she had consensual sex with Trump in 2006, though Trump completely denies it. In October of 2016, Trump’s lawyer or say personal fixer Michael Cohen made a wire transfer to Daniels of $130,000 after she said that she is willing to go on record about the alleged affair with Trump.
Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and now a convicted felon is another key figure in the Manhattan case. Till now he has testified 20 times on the former president’s alleged illegalities.
Other Trump Investigations
Story Daniels case is one of the many cases that Trump is facing. The justice department of US is investigating his retention of top secret government documents at his Florida estate, Mar-a-lago, after leaving the White House. Federal investigators are also probing the Jan6 2021 US riot case. In Georgia, District attorneys have been investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election.