Welcome to the “Ham Sandwiches” chronicles as a Manhattan grand jury indicts former President Donald Trump over hush-money payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.
The specific charges were not made public, but law enforcement said Trump is facing over two dozen counts related to business fraud.
“This is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history,” Trump said in a statement Tuesday after the indictment was made public.
The indictment will be unsealed at his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court, which is also expected to take place Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers and a court administrator said.
Bragg’s office will call Trump’s lawyers to inform them of the grand jury’s decision, and negotiations will begin for the former president’s surrender.
While typically a suspect is arraigned — brought before a judge to enter a plea — within a day, Trump’s case is unique because of the security ramifications it brings, experts say.
“The DA would be foolish to perp-walk Trump,’’ one legal expert opined. “They would be playing directly into Team Trump’s narrative that this a political prosecution, and also unquestionably, they would be provoking and riling up the Trump supporters.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg apparently secured the indictment under a little-known legal theory alleging Trump falsified business records — in commission of a federal campaign finance violation — through the repayment of a $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.
How Bragg thinks he charge Trump with federal crimes in a state court has many legal experts believing the Manhattan DA is in over his head.
“I think it’s illegally pathetic,” lawyer Jonathon Turley said of the news.
“There’s a good reason why the Department of Justice did not prosecute this case: Because it’s been down this road before. It tried a case against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards arguing that hush money paid to another woman, who bore a child out of that relationship, was in fact a campaign violation. That was a much stronger case, but they lost,” Turley said, referring to federal prosecutors not charging Trump following Cohen’s guilty plea.
“Even if you can bootstrap that dead misdemeanor to something alive, you’re essentially arguing a federal case that the Department of Justice declined. But it’s also a case that requires you to show, if that is the basis of this indictment, that Trump’s only, his sole motive for paying this money or having third-parties pay it was for the election,” he continued.”