Former US President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused Trump of falsifying business records in order to cover up crimes related to the 2016 presidential election. Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records stemming from Bragg's probe centering on hush money payments made to two women ahead of the 2016 election. Bragg said Trump made false statements "month after month" in 2017 when he reimbursed his former lawyer Michael Cohen for the payments, claiming they were for legal services.
The DA said that the alleged scheme to conceal payments from the public "violated New York election law, which makes it a crime to conspire to promote a candidacy by unlawful means". Bragg has received criticism from Trump and his allies, who accuse the Manhattan DA of pursuing a politically biased case, targeting him because he is a leading Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential race. The grand jury's vote last week to indict Trump made him the first former president in US history ever to face criminal charges.
The indictment was unsealed after Trump's arraignment earlier Tuesday afternoon. The DA's office also released a statement of facts that detailed alleged efforts to suppress the publication of claims from two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both alleged they had sex with Trump years earlier while he was married. The DA emphasized that these are felony crimes in New York state, no matter who you are, and that serious criminal conduct cannot and will not be normalized.