Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury following an investigation into hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, making him the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges while running for office again.
The particular charges are currently unknown because the indictment is still under seal. CNN claimed on Thursday that Trump faces more than 30 counts of corporate fraud.
Trump declared his innocence and said he would not withdraw from the 2024 presidential race. He accused Bragg, a Democrat, of attempting to harm his re-election chances against Democratic President Joseph Biden.
"This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history," he stated.
Trump then solicited funds from his fans for his legal defence. According to his campaign, he has raised more than $2 million since he mistakenly predicted on March 18 that he would be arrested four days later.
Thursday, several of Trump's possible challengers, including Florida Governor Ron Desantis and former Vice President Mike Pence, supported the poll-leading candidate for the 2024 GOP nomination, Donald Trump.
Pence stated, "This will only further serve to divide our country,"
While the White House remained silent, Democrats asserted that Trump was not exempt from the rule of law.
Charles Schumer, the Senate's senior Democrat, stated, "I encourage both Mr Trump's critics and supporters to let the process proceed peacefully and according to the law,"
A court will likely unseal the charges in the coming days. Trump will next be required to come to Manhattan for fingerprinting and other formalities.
Bragg's office stated that it had contacted Trump's counsel to negotiate his surrender, which a court official said would likely take place on Tuesday.
Susan Necheles and Joe Tacopina, attorneys for Donald Trump, stated that they would "vigorously fight" the charges.
The Manhattan inquiry is one of the many legal obstacles Trump faces.
Last year, Bragg successfully prosecuted Trump's company on tax-fraud charges, resulting in a $1.61 million criminal fine.
According to a source familiar with the subject, the presiding judge in that case, New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, is also scheduled to preside over this case.
Trump might use the lawsuit to enflame his core base of followers, while other GOP voters may weary of the commotion. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll published last week, 44% of Republicans believe he should withdraw from the race if indicted.
Outside the courthouse, several protestors held Trump-criticism signs in silence. After Trump called for widespread rallies on March 18, authorities increased security surrounding the courthouse, remembering his inflammatory statements before January 6, 2021, attack on the United States. His supporters surround Capitol.
Daniels, whose actual name is Stephanie Clifford, has stated that she was paid to be silent about her 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.
Michael Cohen, the former president's attorney, stated that he coordinated with Trump on the payments to Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with him. Trump has denied having sexual relationships with both women.
Trump first denied knowing anything about Daniels' payment in 2018. Later, he admitted reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a "simple private transaction."
"No one is above the law," tweeted Daniels' attorney Clark Brewster.
In 2018, Cohen pled guilty to campaign finance violations and served over a year in prison. Federal prosecutors stated that he acted at the direction of Trump.
Cohen stated that he stood behind his testimony and the evidence he presented to prosecutors. "Accountability matters," he declared in a statement.
No former or current president of the United States has ever faced criminal charges.
In addition to this case, Trump faces two criminal investigations by a U.S.-appointed special counsel. Attorney General Merrick Garland and another municipal prosecutor in Georgia are conducting criminal studies.
Trump has often avoided legal trouble. In the White House, he withstood two attempts by Congress to remove him from office, notably for his fans' attack on the United States in January—Capitoltol and a multi-year investigation of his 2016 campaign's ties with Russia.
During last year's tax-fraud trial, the Manhattan District Attorney's office targeted Trump's firm but did not press charges against Trump himself.
According to legal experts, Bragg is expected to contend in the hush-money case that Trump manipulated corporate records to conceal another crime, such as breaching federal campaign finance law, a felony.