Donald Trump Indicted by Grand Jury in Stormy Daniels Hush Money Case: Reports
Donald Trump is the first sitting or former president in United States history to face criminal charges
Former President Donald Trump has reportedly been indicted more than six years after he allegedly paid hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels while he was the presidential candidate in 2016.
A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump on Thursday, according to The New York Times, CNN and ABC News sources. The official indictment is expected to be announced within days, per The Times.
Trump, 76, is now the first sitting or former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.
News of Trump's alleged affair with Daniels surfaced in 2018, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to the ex-porn star a month before the 2016 election so she'd keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter they'd had years earlier.
Related:Everything to Know About the Looming Indictment of Donald Trump
While Trump and his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen initially denied the claims of an affair, Cohen later admitted that there was a payment made to the porn star.
Calling it "a private transaction," Cohen told The New York Times that he paid Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket in 2016. He said Trump had not reimbursed him.
Trump has since admitted he authorized the $130,000 payment, but has continued to deny the underlying claims that the two had an affair or that the payment was in any way connected to his campaign.
Related:Michael Cohen Makes Amends with Stormy Daniels on His Podcast: 'I'm Sorry for the Needless Pain'
On Truth Social after the news broke, Trump repeated many of his prior claims regarding the case, calling it "political persecution and election interference" and again accusing his political opponents of "a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement."
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office began presenting evidence to a grand jury in the case in January, with former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker among the witnesses who were seen entering the grand jury building over the course of the investigation.
The company that publishes the Enquirer admitted in late 2018 that it helped broker "catch and kill" deals with Daniels and other women, in which it paid the women hush money for their stories, effectively silencing them ahead of the 2016 election.
In a 2018 statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York said the publisher "admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate's presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate" and that "its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election."
The district attorney's office previously invited Trump to testify before the grand jury as part of its investigation into his alleged role in the hush money payment.
Daniels and Cohen both met with prosecutors earlier this month, the AP reported. And on March 20, Cohen's former legal adviser Robert Costello met with the grand jury, per CNN.
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Trump's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, spoke with CNBC earlier this month, as reports about an imminent arrest began to mount, and said that Trump would surrender to face criminal charges, should he be indicted.
"[He] will follow normal procedures if it gets to that point," Tacopina told the outlet.
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