Donald Trump is set to face a mug shot, finger-printing and a court appearance after he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.

The indictment, the first against a former US president, came after a near-five year investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office over alleged hush money paid to a porn star seven years ago.

An indictment is formal notice given to a person suspected of committing a crime, which details the charges against them.

Mr Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing, called the indictment “political persecution”.

What are the charges?

The exact nature of the charges is unclear as the indictment remains under seal, but they stem from payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign, around the time when Mr Trump’s celebrity past collided with his political ambitions.

CNN reported Mr Trump faced more than 30 counts related to business fraud, citing anonymous sources familiar with the case although this has not been officially confirmed.

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels speaking in New York City, and U.S. President Donald Trump speaking in Washington, Michigan, U.S. on April 16, 2018 and April 28, 2018 respectively. . REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid (L) REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (R)/File Photos
Donald Trump has been indicted over the alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign (Photo: Brendan Mcdermid /Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Prosecutors have scrutinised money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Mr Trump in 2006.

The Manhattan inquiry is investigating whether his company falsified business records over the $130,000 (£106,000) made to Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, by Mr Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Mr Cohen, who has given evidence to the grand jury in recent weeks, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws among other charges related to the case in 2018.

Mr Cohen said that he was directed by Mr Trump to arrange payments totaling $280,000 (£229,000) to Ms Daniels, as well as Playboy model Karen McDougal, to buy their silence. Mr Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and has since been released.

Prosecutors have not said whether they intended to seek prison time in the event of a conviction for Mr Trump.

How was Mr Trump responded?

In a statement following the indictment, Mr Trump said: “This is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history.”

Early on Friday morning, he posted a message on his Truth Social app asking “where’s Hunter?”, in an apparent reference to US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, whose taxes and foreign business dealings are under federal investigation.

Hunter Biden has for years been the focus of unrelenting attacks by Mr Trump and his Republican allies who have accused him of wrongdoing relating to Ukraine and China, among other matters. Hunter Biden has previously said he handled his affairs “legally and appropriately”.

“They only brought this fake, corrupt, and disgraceful charge against me because I stand with the American people, and they know that I cannot get a fair trial in New York!” Mr Trump said in an earlier Truth Social post.

Mr Trump’s lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina, said the former president “did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court.”

Mr Tacopina added that Mr Trump is “likely” to turn himself in on Tuesday.

The 76-year-old was reportedly asked to surrender on Friday but his lawyers said the US Secret Service needed additional time to make preparations, according to the Associated Press, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter.

By admin