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MANHATTAN, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) For the first time in American history, a former U.S. president is under indictment from a grand jury on criminal charges.
On Thursday, March 30, in the late afternoon, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Donald Trump on more than 30 counts allegedly related to business fraud. The indictment is filed under seal and the charges are not publicly known.
Manahattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office has been investigating Trump's involvement in an alleged 2016 hush money scheme. Allegedly, days before the 2016 presidential election, Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, paid pornstar Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about an alleged affair between her and Trump a decade earlier.
Back in 2018, federal prosecutors charged Cohen with financial crimes involving payments to Daniels and Playboy model, Karen McDougal. McDougal, like Daniels, claims she had an extramarital affair with Donald Trump in 2006, but Trump denies both Daniels' and McDougal's allegations, calling the indictment a "political persecution."
Cohen, however, pled guilty and served jail time for the offense.
The office of District Attorney Bragg put out a statement on Thursday saying, "This evening we contacted Mr. Trump's attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.'s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal."
Sources are indicating Trump will appear in court on Tuesday, April 4.
On Thursday, Fox News anchor, Bret Baier, read aloud a statement by the 45th president live on the show Special Report:
I believe this witch hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the radical left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So, our movement and our party, united and strong, will first defeat Alvin Bragg and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these crooked Democrats out of office so we can make America great again.
A grand jury is not a trial jury, and legal analysts are urging people to know that distinction. Elie Honig, former federal prosecutor and author of the new book, "Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It," told CNN:
A grand jury is bigger, typically 23 members, and the prosecutor only needs the votes of a majority of a grand jury — as opposed to a trial jury, which has to be unanimous. The standard of proof in a grand jury is lower than a trial jury. In a grand jury, you only have to show probable cause, meaning more likely than not. But of course in a trial setting, you need to show proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis noted, "The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American."
Republicans are calling the indictment a political attack, while Democrats say they want to see the rule of law upheld. The indictment, however, does not bar Trump from running for president in 2024.
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