Donald Trump announced on his social media that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Though the Manhattan District Attorney has not confirmed if the arrest will take place, the former President of the United States could face charges and, if so, will be the first President in history to be indicted. So why is Trump arrested?
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and his office is leading the criminal investigation under Trump. “Illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorney’s office … indicate that with no crime being able to be proven … the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” Trump wrote on his social media site Truth Social on March 19, 2023. He also told his followers to “protest, take our nation back” at the end of his statement.
On Tuesday, April 4, 2023, Trump turned himself in “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse,” Trump posted to Truth Social before arriving. “Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”
So why was Trump arrested? Read more below to find out.
Why was Donald Trump arrested? Donald Trump is arrested on Tuesday April 4, 2023, in Manhattan, New York and will be arraigned on dozesn of charges related to hush money payments. It’s the first time in American history that a former president will face criminal charges.
On March 21, 2023, Donald Trump claimed that his indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney was close to happening without evidence. His representatives later said he was citing media reports and leaks. “No one tells us anything which is very frustrating. President Trump is basing his response on press reports,” Joe Tacopina, who represents Trump, said in a statement to CNN. One of Trump’s attorneys, Susan Necheles, also told CBS News, “As President Trump states, his post is based on the media reports. Since this is a political prosecution, the District Attorney’s office has engaged in a practice of leaking everything to the press, rather than communicating with President Trump’s attorneys as would be done in a normal case.”
What are the charges Trump is facing? Trump is facing charges for falsifying business records, but none have been laid yet. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor. To elevate it to a felony, the defendant needs to have created the fake records with an intent to commit or conceal “another crime.” In theory, he could face four years in prison as the charge of falsifying business records in the first degree is a low-level felony.
The investigation involves the “hush money” payment that was made to adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who alleged the former President had an affair in 2006 with her months after his wife Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron. Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 just days before the 2016 election. Cohen claimed this was done at the direction of his boss because Daniels was on the cusp of going public about an affair she alleges she had with Trump in 2006. In 2018, Cohen was being investigated for tax evasion and for the payments to Daniels as well as another woman who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Trump.
The former real estate mogul repeatedly denied having an affair with Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen then admitted to helping arrange payment to Daniels and pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance violations on August 21, 2018. He told the federal court that Trump directed him to make the payments. Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison.
On January 2023, Cohen met with investigations from Bragg’s office. “They’re calling me in for the 14th time, so we’ll see what happens,” Cohen said outside a government office building in downtown Manhattan, adding that he hasn’t met with investigators since Bragg took office. “This is my first time meeting with Alvin Bragg.” Later in the month, the New York Times reported that Bragg convened a grand jury to examine the “hush money” case.
On March 13, 2023, Cohen testified in front of a grand jury. “This is not revenge,” Cohen said via CBS News. “I don’t want to see anyone, including Donald Trump indicted, prosecuted, convicted, incarcerated simply because I fundamentally disagree with them. This is all about accountability. He needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds.” However, on the same day, Trump refused to testify in front of the grand jury. “He won’t be participating in that proceeding—a proceeding that we and most election law experts believe is with absolutely no legal merit,” said Joseph Tacopina, who represents Trump.
Daniels met with investigators from the District Attorney’s office on March 15, 2023. “Stormy responded to questions and has agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed,” Clark Brewster, who represents Daniels, wrote on Twitter. She thanked her attorney in a quote tweet, “Thank you to my amazing attorney (who also always spells my name correctly 🤣) for helping me in our continuing fight for truth and justice.”
One of Trump’s lawyers Robert Costello, who had a falling out with Cohen as well as his legal adviser, testified on March 20, 2023. According to the Associated Press, Costello’s testimony was expected to give the former president an indirect opportunity to make a case that he shouldn’t face criminal charges, though there were no clear signs his appearance had changed the course of the grand jury probe. “If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence then so be it,” Costello said. “But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence.”
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