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New York Grand Jury Votes To Indict Former President Trump

People protesting against former President Donald Trump gather outside of the Manhattan Criminal Court before his arraignment on April 4, 2023, in New York City. | Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

In a historic first, Donald Trump on Tuesday because the first former president of the United States to be arrested and arraigned on criminal charges following a grand jury indictment in New York City.

The twice impeached former president was arrested and formally charged on more than two dozen felony counts centered on alleged hush money he’s accused of paying to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to prevent her from speaking publicly about their relationship during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The exact charges have not been revealed because a grand jury’s proceedings are secret.

However, the New York Times reported that Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felonies.

State Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan has been assigned to the case.

New York Grand Jury Votes To Indict Former President Trump

Former President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court for his arraignment hearing on April 4, 2023, in New York City. | Source: Kena Betancur / Getty

Trump’s arrest is the result of an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which is led by Alvin Bragg, the first Black person to serve in that role.

Legal experts said that Trump, who is 76 and currently a presidential candidate, was considered under arrest once he entered the Manhattan criminal courthouse.

Protesters held signs reading words like, “Nobody is above the law,” as dueling Trump supporters wielded their own signs and American flags.

It was unclear how long Trump’s arrest, and processing including fingerprinting and arraignment could take before he was expected to be released on his own recognizance.

New York Grand Jury Votes To Indict Former President Trump

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Will there be a perp walk?

While Trump was shown walking into the courtroom in grainy footage filmed from overhead TV cameras, any expectations of seeing him being handcuffed, pushed into a squad car and driven downtown for booking are delusions of grandeur, according to one former prosecutor.

The process of a traditional arrest will take place, former U.S. Army prosecutor Glenn Kirschner previously told USA Today, but it will not happen traditionally, so to speak.

That means that it’s highly doubtful that there will be a “perp walk” of Trump walking in handcuffs so that the media can photograph and video the so-called money shot of an accused criminal being publicly shamed, Kirschner said.

“There will be no reason to cuff him and walk him into police headquarters to be booked,” Kirschner correctly predicted.

However, the world will get to see a photo of Trump being booked that will live in infamy no matter how the case turns out.

“There will still be a mug shot, fingerprints and lots of paperwork filled out as part of the booking process,” Kirschner continued. “So we will see a mug shot of a former President of the United States but I do not think we’re going to see a perp walk.”

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.


“Black for Trump” protesters demonstrate outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in New York City on April 4, 2023. | Source: LEONARDO MUNOZ / Getty

What is Trump accused of doing?

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been investigating Trump’s alleged “hush money” payment of $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford, a porn star who performs using the name Stormy Daniels. The money was paid by Trump’s former lawyer in an effort to keep private an alleged sexual encounter she had with the former president. Specifically, attorney Micheal Cohen testified that he paid Daniels to not speak publicly so as to influence the 2016 election cycle that featured numerous women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, including rape.

From CNN:

Hush money payments aren’t illegal. Prosecutors are weighing whether to charge Trump with falsifying the business records of the Trump Organization for how it reflected the reimbursement of the payment to Cohen, who said he advanced the money to Daniels. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York.

Prosecutors are also weighing whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records in the first degree for falsifying a record with the intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal another crime, which in this case could be a violation of campaign finance laws. That is a Class E felony and carries a sentence of a minimum of one year and as much as four years. To prove the case, prosecutors would need to show Trump intended to commit a crime.

The Trump Organization noted the reimbursements as a legal expense in its internal books. Trump has previously denied knowledge of the payment.

Cohen testified about the allegations this past Wednesday, suggesting the investigation was heating up or nearing its conclusion.

Weeks ago, Bragg invited Trump to testify before a grand jury, something legal experts said signaled an imminent indictment.

Trump, of course, refused the invitation and instead said Bragg, a Black man, was motivated by racism.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) talks to supporters of former US President Donald Trump outside the District Attorneys’ office in New York City on April 4, 2023. | Source: ANGELA WEISS / Getty


While bringing Trump to justice for any alleged crime should be paramount, society hasn’t forgotten the way Trump has repeatedly and readily criminalized Black and brown people. After all, he’s the same person who called for the death penalty for the Exonerated Five, who were all teenagers ultimately proven innocent when Trump campaigned for their capital punishment — something he’s refused to apologize for.

The Rev. Al Sharpton reminded people about that truth while he was reacting to last week’s news that a grand jury recommended Trump’s criminal indictment.

“Karma,” the civil rights icon told Joy Reid during his appearance on MSNBC on Sunday.

As he reflected on the historic indictment of the former U.S. president, Sharpton said it was “ironic” that Trump would be arraigned in the same building where the Central Park 5 were “indicted and prosecuted for a rape they didn’t do.”

“Donald Trump took ads out calling for their execution,” he added.

Mo’ cases, mo’ prosecutors, mo’ perp walks?

Bragg’s investigation may have concluded, but two other prosecutors are still conducting their own separate probes of Trump.

Just last month, a grand jury empaneled by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to investigate Trump’s repeated attempts to overturn and invalidate the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia recommended criminal charges over possible perjury. The grand jury found that at least one witness lied under oath. However, it was neither immediately apparent who was accused of committing perjury nor what the lie was.

Before that revelation, Willis suggested that a decision on whether to seek indictments was “imminent.”

And back in New York, the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, sued Trump, his children and his company for $250 million in a suit alleging “intentional and deliberate fraud” as “part of his efforts to generate profits for himself, his family and his company” for 10 years from 2011 to 2021.

James claims that as a result, Trump violated multiple state and federal laws. She said she would refer evidence of bank fraud to the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, something that seemingly increases the likelihood of criminal charges.

So, in other words, if the world doesn’t get to witness a Trump perp walk this week, another prosecutor in New York and one in Georgia are seemingly increasing the chances that there will be at least one more chance to see it happen.


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