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A historical accusation against ex-US President Trump


This has never happened before in US history: Former President Trump has been indicted in New York. He now faces a prison sentence. Trump himself speaks of political persecution.

By Antje Passenheim, ARD Studio New York

“A lot to do here in Manhattan,” says a TV reporter to the camera in front of the New York courthouse. Rows of media teams crowd around the building where the grand jury has just cast its historic vote: the first indictment against a former US president.

The man who will guide them comes from another building. District Attorney Alwin Bragg climbs into his waiting limo and drives away without a word. Previously, Bragg announced in writing that the court had contacted Donald Trump’s attorney to coordinate his transfer to New York for indictment. The indictment is still sealed. The exact charges are so far unclear, says former prosecutor and head of the law institute at New York University, Michael Waldman, the broadcaster CNN.

But they are believed to revolve around the hush-money payments, which were kept under wraps to keep things under wraps. And that this was done to strengthen his campaign. And that would be a form of illegality in its own right.

Hush money payments to porn actress

The then presidential candidate Donald Trump wanted to silence porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. She claims the two had a relationship. Daniels had threatened to go public.

Hush money payments are not illegal in the United States. Your concealment in the balance sheets but already. Especially when it comes to illegal campaign donations on their own behalf. Waldman is sure that the charges are based on serious points: “I would be very surprised if it were just a technical matter, a ticket for illegal parking.” Waldman says it’s more likely “that it’s something serious with dozens of charges.”

Trump speaks of political persecution

The public prosecutor’s office in Trump’s hometown had been investigating the matter for years and finally set up a so-called grand jury. Trump spoke of “political persecution and electoral interference at the highest level in history”. Other Republicans also reacted with outrage and criticized District Attorney Bragg. Wrongly so, says legal expert Walden: “It wasn’t Alvin Bragg versus Donald Trump. Or the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. This was a grand jury.”

23 lay people, composed at random, made their decision after hearing numerous witnesses. US media, citing Trump’s lawyers, reported that the ex-president could probably face justice in New York next week. The Manhattan prosecutor’s office simply stated that further details would be provided as soon as a date for the indictment reading had been set.

The court, the Secret Service and the New York police would carefully consider that, says ex-prosecutor Annemarie McAvoy dem ARD Studio New York:

They consider what is best for everyone, also with regard to the safety of the people of New York and their freedom of movement in the event of protests. Maybe they’ll say it would be easier to leave him in Florida.

For now at least. But at some point Trump will have to appear. It is also possible that he will be convicted. “He could go to jail,” McAvoy said.

candidacy from prison?

In view of his age of 76 and the possible length of such a criminal process, that is rather unlikely. But that’s not out of the question, says lawyer McAvoy.

It is possible that he will have to go to prison for four years. But believe it or not, even from there he could theoretically run for president.

But many consider it questionable whether that would also be in the interests of his Republican party. The police in New York were on alert. So far, however, there have been no concrete threats from possible angry Trump supporters.

Ex-US President Trump charged in New York hush money scandal

Peter Mücke, ARD New York, 3/31/2023 12:09 a.m