Trump indicted in Manhattan, becoming first ex-president charged with a crime
A New York grand jury investigating the circumstances surrounding a "hush money" payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 has voted to indict Donald Trump, making him the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office confirmed the indictment in a statement on Thursday and said it had reached out to Trump's attorney to arrange his surrender. The specific charge or charges have not yet been made public and the indictment remains under seal. Bragg's office said more guidance would be provided "when the arraignment date is selected."
At 12:30 a.m. Friday, one of Trump's attorneys, Joseph Tacopina, told CBS News via text that Trump's legal team expects him to surrender to authorities "likely Tuesday," following discussions with the Manhattan DA's office until late Thursday night.
Two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News the plan is for the former president to fly to New York Monday and be arraigned before Judge Juan Merchan the next day. The proceeding is expected to be brief. The charge or charges in the indictment would be read to him at that time. The sources noted that the planning is fluid and the date could change.
Two law enforcement sources also told CBS News on Friday that Trump is likely to fly into LaGuardia Airport, which is located in Queens, in a private plane.
In a statement responding to news of his indictment, the former president called it "Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history," and accused Democrats of "weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States."
"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," Trump said.
Two Trump attorneys, Tacopina and Susan Necheles, issued a statement saying that the former president "did not commit any crime" and vowed to "vigorously fight this political prosecution in Court."
The case stems from a payment made just days before Trump was elected president in 2016. His former attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged a wire transfer of $130,000 to Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair. Prosecutors were believed to be investigating the potential falsification of business records related to reimbursements made to Cohen. Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, and vehemently denied wrongdoing in this case.
Cohen repeatedly met with prosecutors and testified before the grand jury in this case for five hours over two days in March. He served time in a federal prison after entering a guilty plea in 2018 to tax evasion and campaign finance violations in connection with the payment to Daniels.
After news of the indictment broke on Thursday evening, NYPD officers were out in full force at the Manhattan criminal courthouse, where a few scattered protesters gathered. CBS News has learned that all NYPD officers have been ordered to be in full uniform and ready to deploy Friday.
The indictment comes as Trump faces legal hurdles in other potential criminal cases. In Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is mulling charges in an investigation into alleged efforts by Trump and more than a dozen of his allies to undermine the state's results in the 2020 election, which he lost to President Biden. A special purpose grand jury conducted a six-month probe last year and delivered a report with its findings to Willis in January. The majority of that report was ordered sealed, at least until charging decisions are made.
In Washington, D.C., special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing two Justice Department investigations into alleged efforts to interfere with the lawful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, and Trump's handling of sensitive government documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home and possible obstruction of efforts to retrieve them.
The White House declined to comment on news of the indictment.
Matthew Mosk, Pat Milton and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.
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