NEW YORK. KAZINFORM - Donald Trump has been indicted over undisclosed crimes following a probe into hush money allegedly paid to a woman after an affair, U.S. media and prosecutors said Thursday, making him the first former American president to face a criminal charge, Kyodo reports.
The unprecedented development involving a former U.S. president is likely to have an impact on Trump's bid to enter the Republican Party primaries through which he hopes to be nominated to contest next year's presidential election.
The indictment by the New York grand jury is also expected to further intensify the rivalry between the bloc led by Democratic President Joe Biden and the Republican opposition in the run-up to the presidential election.
New York state authorities investigated allegations that Trump's side paid some $130,000 ahead of his successful November 2016 presidential election bid to an adult film star known as Stormy Daniels, who claimed the pair had an affair, according to U.S. reports.
Trump, 76, who has flatly denied the allegations, labeled the indictment by the New York grand jury «political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history» in a statement.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat official, said it has demanded Trump report for «arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal.»
The New York Times and other U.S. media said Trump is likely to turn himself in Tuesday next week, while CNN said he was indicted on more than 30 charges related to alleged business fraud.
Trump has been embroiled in a spate of investigations since he left office, including over the improper removal of classified documents to his residence at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and his role in the attack on the U.S. Congress by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021.
After the 2020 election, Trump challenged the results with unfounded claims of widespread fraud and urged his supporters to take action against the certification of Biden's win.
The Trump Organization, a family business, was fined $1.6 million earlier this year for tax fraud and other crimes, though Trump himself was not held accountable.
Trump was the third sitting president in U.S. history to be impeached after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. In the closing days of his term, Trump became the first to be dealt a second impeachment.
The first took place in December 2019, when the House of Representatives charged him with abusing the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden in an effort to boost his own chances of re-election. He was acquitted at a Senate vote two months later.
Shortly after the January 2021 Capitol attack, the House impeached Trump over his role in the deadly incident. He was acquitted the following month.