By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,

In a case that has held headlines for weeks, Trump is now the first former president of the U.S. to be criminally indicted in American history.

Charges have yet to be reported.

“The indictment of Donald Trump speaks for itself,” said Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md-07) in a statement via Twitter. “A cross-section of ordinary Americans decided there was probable cause of a crime after reviewing the evidence and hearing from the witnesses. The justice system doesn’t allow us to replace the grand jury’s judgement with our own.”

A Manhattan grand jury decided to indict former U.S. President Donald Trump in relation to payments made to silence an adult film star’s allegations of an affair. 

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave “hush money” to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, after she alleged an affair with the presidential candidate at the time, just before the 2016 election.

Cohen was arrested for eight counts of criminal tax evasion and campaign finance violations in 2018 after he pleaded guilty, according to a report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.

Trump immediately released a statement on the announcement.

“This is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history,” said Trump. “Never before in our nation’s history has this been done.”

Trump called out Democrats deeming them “liars” and being out to get him since day one of his presidency.

Leading up to the indictment, Trump falsely claimed that he would be arrested on March 21 and has used the hype to kick off his campaign for president in 2024, calling for his followers to once again “take the country back and make America great again.”

He also called for his followers to “protest, protest, protest,” using phrases similar to those he said to rioters before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C, which resulted in the arrest of more than 999 insurrectionists.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg led the investigation into Trump’s “hush money” case. 

“This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” said a spokesperson for Bragg in a promptly released statement. 

A case about Trump’s attempts to interfere in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election is also looming for another possible indictment by a special grand jury.

Maryland and community leaders gave their reaction to this historical moment.

“Looks like Jim Jordan’s illegal attempt to intimidate @ManhattanDA and the grand jury fell flat,” Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-Md.-04), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted. 

“I look forward to seeing how Trump’s indictment and arrest will unfold,” Maryland Del. Peña-Melnyk (D-21) told the AFRO shortly after the indictment was released.

“No one is above the law.”

“It is our hope that justice is done and that today’s indictment strengthens our democracy by sending a message to wealth candidates that they will not be allowed to use their wealth and power to subvert democratic elections and the laws that have been put in place to ensure fair and transparent campaign finance,” said Kobi Little, president of the Baltimore NAACP.

Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.

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