Former President Donald Trump Charged with Business Fraud by a New York Grand Jury

By Ethan Percival

On March 31st, former American President Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury for 34 individual accounts of Business Fraud, which are felony offenses. It marks the first time in American history that a President, former or current, has been charged with a crime. The charges come from Trump’s involvement in paying ‘hush money’ payments to adult actress, Stormy Daniel, to cover up an alleged affair between the two. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicated the payments in the hush money scheme were a part of a larger operation to influence the 2016 Presidential Election by covering up information and stories which could be damaging to Trump’s reputation.

The charges of fraud come from the payments which Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen made to Daniels in the final days of the 2016 Election, totaling $130,000. In his presidency, Trump secretly reimbursed Cohen by disguising the repayments as legal expenses to Cohen.  

Following his indictment, Trump’s lawyers announced he would surrender to authorities on the following Tuesday and on April 4th Trump turned himself in to the authorities at the Manhattan Criminal Court, where he was processed and presented with the charges against him. These included 34 accounts of business fraud including 11 counts involving the checks given to Cohen, 11 centered on the monthly invoices Mr. Cohen submitted to the company, and the final 12 involve entries in the general ledger for Trump’s trust. 

In the historical announcement of the indictment, the Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg stated, “Manhattan is home to the country’s most significant business market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct. As the Statement of Facts describes, the trail of money and lies exposes a pattern that, the People allege, violates one of New York’s basic and fundamental business laws. As this office has done time and time again, we today

 uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”

Shortly after his arraignment, Trump returned to his current residence in Mar-a-Lago Florida. Throughout the indictment process, Trump has continuously put the the DA of Manhattan and his family on blast on Twitter, possibly endangering their safety. Additionally, Trump has likened his indictment to political persecution and has asked his supporters for donations to, as he put it, “defend our movement from the never-ending witch hunts.” His campaign received $7 million in three days. 

Other prominent Republicans condemned the indictment. Ohio Representative Jim Jordan simply called the indictment, “Outrageous” in a one word tweet. Leader of the House, Kevin McCarthy, vowed that he and his caucus would “hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account” and said the American people “will not tolerate this injustice.” 

Democrats and Liberals are seemingly split between elation and anxiety on the matter. Democratic Representative from Minnesota Ilhan Omar excitedly tweeted, “Grand Jury votes to indict Trump!” Californian Representative Jimmy Gomez praised the indictment and shared that it was “one of many steps” to end the threat Trump poses to free and fair elections.” 

Other democrats didn’t share the same joy as their colleagues, Florida Democrat Jared Moskowitz disclosed on Twitter that this was not an event to celebrate, rather it was “ a terrible moment for the country” but she acknowledged that “no one is above the law.”  Of the many democrats which have approached the indictment with a neutral tone, the Biden Administration has repeatedly declined to take a position on the proceedings. 

The official trial date is slated for December 4 of this year and Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s