After days of anticipation and delays, a Manhattan grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump, making him the first former or current present ever to face criminal charges.
The indictment was handed down Thursday, The New York Times reported. Though the details have not been released, the charges are believed to be related to alleged "hush money" payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump said he expected to be arrested last week, but the indictment decision was delayed as the grand jury investigation, led by Alvin Bragg, needed more days for witnesses and deliberation.
The former president has consistently maintained his innocence. He is reportedly expected to turn himself in next week.
“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history," Trump said about the indictment. "From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats — the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country - have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement."
Republican lawmakers, legal experts and even some Democrat officials also condemned the indictment for being politically motivated and setting a dangerous precedent.
"It appears to me that this is a political prosecution," Matt Clark, president of the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty, told 1819 News. "I would be surprised if this isn’t thrown out on a motion to dismiss."
U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Huntsville) agreed, saying, “After four years of liberal investigations designed to undermine a democratically elected Trump presidency, New York liberals are continuing the same playbook– trying to find anything to keep Trump out of office. This is nothing more than a political witch hunt and an abuse of office by the Manhattan District Attorney. We must not stand for the politicization of our nation’s justice system to influence elections."
"Remember this day...the day the Democrats hatred of a Republican President was so great that they indicted him on a charge that no one believes is legitimate," U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) tweeted. "You can't unring this bell."
U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) said he plans to hold the Manhattan District Attorney's Office accountable and demand transparency regarding the indictment and investigation into Trump.
"This is a dark day in American history," Moore said. "The arrest of President Trump demonstrates more than ever how the Democrats have weaponized the government against the American people. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I am committed to holding the Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney accountable by requesting to review all documents in this case and working to ensure that federal funds are not used on this political witch hunt."
Editor's note: This article has an updated to include comments by former president Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville.
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