by Vijaya Chandrasoma
Thursday, March 30, 2023. A Manhattan Grand Jury indicted Donald J. Trump on over 30 charges on financial fraud, including a felony charge for his role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign. The New York District Attorney’s office confirmed the indictment on Thursday afternoon. Prosecutors had contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his arraignment and surrender to authorities in Manhattan on Tuesday, April 4.
The indictment, which remains under seal, stems from a near-five-year investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization. The relevant charges will be unveiled on April 4 by New York State District Attorney Alvin Bragg.At the arraignment, Trump will be booked and presented with the charges against him. He will certainly plead “not guilty” and be released on bail. Trump has vowed to fight what he has claimed to be yet another witch hunt against him.
The 36,000 strong New York Police Department, the largest in the nation, is fully equipped to deal with any public disturbance anticipated to be caused by Trump supporters during the arraignment.
Trump became the first serving or former president in the history of the United States to be indicted on criminal charges. As the news of Trump’s indictment spread, reaction broke on familiar partisan lines, reflecting a country still divided by the deeply controversial years of Trump’s term in office, and his false rejection of the 2020 election results.
Republicans are furious in their claim that Trump is the victim of a politically motivated investigation. Vice President Pence called the indictment on a campaign finance issue an “outrage”. Trump reacted with the usually ill-spelt post on his Truth Social network, writing, “These Thugs and Radical Left Monsters have just INDICATED (sic) the 45th President of the United States of America, and the Leading Republican Candidate, by far, for the 2024 Nomination for President”.
Democratic leaders reacted as expected, echoing the chorus that “nobody is above the law”.
However, it seems premature to arrive at any conclusion about the validity and justice of the indictment until it is unveiled and charges known.
Trump is currently facing other serious charges under investigation. The District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, has appointed a Grand Jury to look into allegations into interference in the 2020 Georgia State election by Trump and his allies. The Department of Justice has appointed a Special Counsel to recommend necessary legal action on Trump’s role in the incitement of the January 6 insurrection and government documents illegally stored at Trump’s Mar a Lago home in Florida. All these investigations are said to be far along the line