On Thursday evening, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict former President Donald Trump in connection to alleged payouts made to porn star Stormy Daniels.
The felony indictment was filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, and is set to be announced in the coming days, four sources familiar with the matter told the New York Times.
At that point, prosecutors working under District Attorney Alvin Bragg will have asked for Trump’s surrender and to face arraignment for the currently unclear charges.
Since January, Bragg's office has been presenting evidence of Trump's involvement in a $130,000 payment to Daniels made by lawyer Michael Cohen.
In a letter released earlier this month dated February 8, 2018, it stated that it was Cohen who paid Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket.
"Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford," the letter read, "and neither reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the payment directly or indirectly."
Cohen's team went on to explain that, "neither Mr. Cohen nor Essential Consultants LLC made any in-kind contributions to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., or any other presidential campaign committee," nor was Cohen a government employee at the time.
In the event that Trump does not surrender, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said "I have no interest in getting involved in some type of manufactured circus by some Soros DA, okay. He’s trying to do a political spectacle. He’s trying to virtue signal for his base."
On Thursday morning, it was revealed that Manhattan prosecutors were also looking into an alleged $150,000 payment made to a former Playboy model who claimed to have had an affair with the former president.
The grand jury was questioned about Karen McDougal, Playboy Magazine's Playmate of the Year in 1998, who alleged she had a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006.
According to the New York Times, Trump’s aides said that the former president and 2024 candidate is at Mar-a-Lago "absorbing this information." Several people close to the president said that the Trump Aides were caught off guard with the indictment occurring today.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the grand would not be hearing evidence for the rest of the week.
In a statement following the indictment, Cohen said, "For the first time in our Country’s history, a President (current or former) of the United States has been indicted. I take no pride in issuing this statement and wish to also remind everyone of the presumption of innocence; as provided by the due process clause. However, I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former President. Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather, just the beginning. Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself. The two things I wish to say at this time is that accountability matters and I stand by my testimony and the evidence I have provided to DANY."
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