A grand jury in New York, the United States, has indicted former President Donald Trump for possible business fraud. Although the details of the indictment are still under seal, they might not be unconnected to his alleged involvement in a hush money payment scheme. The Manhattan district attorney has been investigating it since the 2016 presidential election.
It was the first time in the history of the country that a former or sitting president would face criminal charges. Mr Trump is expected to appear before a court on Tuesday. However, the former president and his men have insisted that Thursday’s indictment was political persecution against him and his 2024 bid for the presidency.
The indictment is an act of blatant Election Interference, Trump says
Former President Donald Trump has referred to his indictment by the grand jury as another hoax and an attempt to destroy the “Make America Great Again movement.”
“This is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history,” Mr Trump said while referring to previous investigations like the Russia election interference case, his impeachments and “the illegal and unconstitutional raid” of his Mar-a-Lago estate.
“Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before,” Trump added.
He accused the Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, of “doing Joe Biden’s dirty work” and that the “Witch-hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden.
“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,” the vocal leader said.
Although Trump is expected to appear before a court on Tuesday, the former president’s attorney, Jim Trusty, has hinted at filing a motion to dismiss the indictment before a trial could begin.
“I would think in very short order, you’ll see a motion to dismiss — or several motions to dismiss — talking about this kind of impossible theory of stacking a federal crime into a state misdemeanor, statute of limitations issues and very importantly, the intent to defraud,” Trusty told CNN on Friday.
What next for Trump?
Following his indictment, the former president would have to surrender in New York as the process of his trial begins. He would appear before a court on Tuesday like every other defendant.
After appearing in court, his fingerprint would be obtained and he would be booked. A plea is also expected to be entered. The only difference that would be between Trump and other defendants is his status as a former president and a contestant for the 2024 election. That would require additional security for him.
Can Trump contest as President?
The US constitution does not prevent Trump from running for president, at least for now. Under article 2 of the country’s laws, the requirements for becoming a president are simple. He must not be less than 35 years and must have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. Unless he is pronounced ineligible to contest the election, Trump could go on and even win what looks like a tight race between him and the incumbent president.
So far, President Biden had refused to comment on Trump’s indictment, but supporters of the former president and even some of his challengers within the party have called his indictment a weaponisation of the judiciary and a way to prevent a fair democratic process in the next year’s presidential election.