Manhattan District Attorney Leads Investigation Against Trump
During the 2016 US presidential campaign, the Manhattan grand jury, which meets in secret, voted to indict the former US president following an investigation conducted by the manhattan district attorney.
It is the first time in the history of the US that a current or former President will face criminal charges. Donald Trump is currently faced with over 30 counts associated with business fraud.
Sources say that Trump is expected to be in court or turn himself in to the authorities. However, Trump released a daring statement, he called it political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history.
The Manhattan district attorney's office has been investigating Trump in connection with his alleged role in a hush money payment scheme and cover-up which involves adult film star stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Just before the election in 2016, Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 to an adult filmmaker as part of a hush money agreement to keep her from publicly discussing her affair with Trump. The payment was made from a Shell company set up by Cohen. The company is called Essential Consultants LLC.
The hush money scheme came under scrutiny by federal prosecutors. They investigated to know whether the payment was a violation of the campaign finance laws.
In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges which included campaign finance violations related to the hush money payment. During his plea, Cohen explained that he acted at the direction of Trump.
Later in 2018, Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York reached a Non-prosecuting consensus with American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of the National Enquirer. AMI acknowledged that it had made a $150,000 payment to a former playboy model, Karen Medougat, to buy fairness to her story about her supposed affair with Trump and never publish the story. This was done so the story won't go public and destroy his chances during the campaign. This payment was also made from a Shell company set up by Cohen.
In July 2019, Hope Hicks, who was Trump's aide testified before the House Judiciary Committee that Trump was involved in the hush money payments. However, Trump denied doing anything wrongly and has claimed that the payments were made to protect his family from embarrassment and weren't to influence the election.
In July 2021, The Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, got indicted on charges associated with tax fraud, grand larceny, and a scheme to defraud. The indictment alleged that Weisselberg received substantial fringe benefits from The Trump organization that were not properly reported on his tax returns. However, Trump was not indicted in this case.
What Happens to Trump's Presidential Campaign After the Indictment?
Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury but he can still run for the presidency because the Constitution only requires three things of the candidate.
- A natural-born citizen.
- At least 35 years old.
- A resident of the US for at least 14 years.
Although it may be difficult for an indicted candidate to win votes in an election, it is not against the constitution for them to run or be elected.