A grand jury in New York indicted former President Trump on Thursday on charges related to a 2016 illegal hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels who alleged they had an affair, the Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed.

Meanwhile, Trump on Thursday issued a lengthy statement in response to his indictment in a case involving alleged hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

Why it matters: Trump, who’s running for president in 2024 and facing multiple criminal probes, is the first president in U.S. history — sitting or former — to face criminal charges. The indictment is sure to ripple through his latest presidential campaign.

The charges come more than four years after Michael Cohen, the lawyer who handled the payment for Trump, was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. He has been a witness against the former president.

The prospect of a Trump indictment was raised in early March after the district attorney’s office invited Trump to testify before a grand jury.

“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,” a spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

“Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”

A New York Police Department spokesperson told Axios that every member of the NYPD will report in full uniform Friday as a “precautionary measure” in response to Trump’s indictment.

Trump in a statement Thursday claimed the indictment was an act of “Political Persecution” and accused Democrats of “weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President.”

Meanwhile, an attorney for Daniels tweeted Thursday evening that the indictment is “no cause for joy.”

“The hard work and conscientiousness of the grand jurors must be respected,” Clark Brewster said. “Now let truth and justice prevail. No one is above the law.”

Trump’s attorney did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment and the White House declined to comment.

Worth noting: The Trump campaign later sent fundraising emails asking for donations to help defend the MAGA movement “from the never-ending witch hunts.”

Trump, who frequently casts himself as a victim of overzealous investigators, the media and others, has repeatedly blasted the probe on Truth Social.

While Trump publicly predicted earlier this month that he would be arrested, upending news cycles and provoking reactions across his party, the grand jury investigating him did not conclude on that timeline.

Trump also called for protests, which prompted law enforcement to prepare for large-scale demonstrations that did not materialize.

Background: After his conviction, Cohen alleged that Trump had ordered him to pay Daniels $130,000 in hush money just before the 2016 election and later reimbursed him for it through the Trump Organization as legal expenses.

Trump has denied the affair. His legal team claimed he’s “the victim of extortion” from Daniels and called Bragg’s efforts to have him indicted “insane.”

Federal prosecutors did not pursue charges in the case, but Bragg’s office chose to do so — a controversial decision that made Bragg the focus of Republican accusations that the prosecution was politically partisan.

Of note: Capitol Hill allies of Trump came to his defense after the indictment news broke.

At least one Republican figure, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, has said Trump should drop out of the 2024 presidential race if he’s indicted.

Trump also faces a federal investigation over his efforts to interfere with the 2020 election results and his handling of classified materials.

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office is investigating whether Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results there violated state law.

Here is Trump’s statement:

“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. 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. You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this.

“The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable – indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference.

“Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever.

“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace. Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!

“I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our Movement, and our Party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”



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