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Grand jury votes to indict Donald Trump

NEW YORK — A New York grand jury on Thursday voted to indict former President Donald Trump, making him the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges.

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It was not immediately clear what allegations Trump faces, as the indictment was filed under seal and not immediately made public. Earlier reports indicated the grand jury was investigating business-related matters involving Trump, including his alleged role in payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Biden not given advance notice of Trump arraignment, press secretary says

Update 1:30 p.m. EDT March 31: President Joe Biden did not get early notice of the New York grand jury’s decision to indict Trump, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Speaking with reporters on Air Force One, Jean Pierre said, “all of us, including the president, found out about the news yesterday, just like every other American, through the news reports.”

“He was not given a heads up,” she added.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Trump to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon in New York

Update 12 p.m. EDT March 31: Court officials in New York told The Associated Press that Trump will be arraigned on charges from the grand jury investigation on Tuesday afternoon.

An unidentified law enforcement source told Fox News that Trump is scheduled to appear in court at 2:15 p.m. Trump attorney Joe Tacopina told the news station that the former president will surrender without handcuffs.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Ivanka Trump: ‘I love my father, and I love my country’

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT March 31: Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, released a statement on Instagram one day after a grand jury in New York voted to indict her father on as-yet unknown criminal charges.

“I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both,” she wrote. “I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”

The statement comes after her brothers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, earlier took to social media with strong statements in support of their father.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

What’s next for Trump?

Update 10:15 a.m. EDT March 31: Attorneys for Trump have said the former president plans to turn himself in to authorities in New York on Tuesday.

“We’re working out those logistics right now,” Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said Friday on the “Today” show. “He’s not going to hole up in Mar-a-Lago.”

After the former president is arraigned, the sealed indictment filed Thursday will likely be made public. It remained unclear Friday what charges Trump is facing.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Trump will not take plea deal, attorney says

Update 9 a.m. EDT March 31: Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, said Friday on the “Today” show that the former president has “zero” chance of accepting a plea deal following his indictment on Thursday.

“President Trump will not take a plea deal in this case. It’s not going to happen. There’s no crime,” he said.

The attorney added that he wasn’t sure the case would make it to trial “because we have substantial legal challenges that we have to front before we get to that point.”

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Biden declines to comment on Trump indictment

Update 8:45 a.m. EDT March 31: President Joe Biden repeatedly declined to talk about Trump’s indictment on Friday, continuing his silence on the legal woes faced by his predecessor.

“I have no comment on Trump,” Biden told reporters gathered at the White House.

Biden and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, are traveling to Mississippi on Friday to survey damage from recent deadly storms in the South and reiterate federal support for ongoing recovery efforts.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Indictment includes more than 2 dozen charges, reports say

Update 8:35 a.m. EDT March 31: The indictment against Trump includes more than 24 charges, The New York Times and CNN reported, citing unidentified sources.

According to the Times, the charges are related to Trump’s role in a hush money payment made to an adult film star before the 2016 presidential election. CNN reported the indictment includes more than 30 counts related to alleged business fraud.

Authorities did not immediately confirm what charges the former president faces, as the indictment voted on Thursday was filed under seal. The indictment is not likely to become public until after Trump is arraigned.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

All NYC police told to report for duty

Update 5:47 a.m. EDT March 31: All of New York City’s police have been put on duty for Friday. According to a police memo, the order applies to “all officers regardless of rank.”

NBC reports that the memo instructed officers to be aware of “unusual disorder” duties.

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Pence calls indictment ‘outrage’

Update 5:10 a.m. EDT March 31: Former Vice President Mike Pence called Trump’s indictment “an outrage,” Thursday night.

“The unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage,” Pence said on CNN.

Pence added that Trump’s indictment will appear “for millions of Americans to be nothing more than a political prosecution.”

“I think the American people will look at this and see it as one more example of the criminalization of politics in this country,” he said.

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Trump will likely turn himself in on Tuesday

Update 8:25 p.m. EDT March 30: One of Trump’s lawyers, Susan R. Necheles says that Trump is expected to turn himself in on Tuesday for an arraignment, according to The New York Times.

Trump’s attorneys were contacted by Alvin Bragg’s office

Update 7:17 p.m. EDT March 30: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s spokesman said that Trump’s attorney was contacted Thursday evening, according to The Washington Post.

“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. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” Bragg’s spokesman said according to the newspaper.

‘No cause for joy’

Update 7 p.m. EDT March 30: Stormy Daniel’s lawyer, Clark Brewster, released a statement on Twitter saying that Trump’s indictment is “no cause for joy.”

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

Stormy Daniels retweeted Brewster, adding, “Thank you.”

Original story: Trump will be asked to surrender to authorities, according to The New York Times.

The indictment remained sealed Thursday afternoon, but prosecutors have said they intended to bring the indictment against Trump in connection with so-called “hush money” payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign.

In a statement released Thursday, Trump said the indictment was “political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history.”

The charges come following a grand jury investigation into business-related matters involving Trump, including his alleged role in payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, according to The Washington Post and the Times. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and accused prosecutors of targeting him for political reasons.

In 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Cohen, a former longtime attorney for Trump, paid Daniels $130,000 to keep her from talking publicly about a sexual encounter she had with Trump years earlier. Cohen subsequently confirmed that he had made the payment and expected to be reimbursed, the Post reported.

Paying hush money is not a crime, though federal prosecutors have said Trump could face a misdemeanor charge for falsifying business records by marking the reimbursement to Cohen as a legal fee, The Associated Press reported. The charge could be a felony campaign finance violation if prosecutors determined Trump falsified records to conceal another crime, according to the AP and Spectrum News NY1.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating campaign finance laws by submitting false invoices to the Trump Organization to get reimbursement for unlawful campaign contributions made in the form of payments to Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. He said in federal court that he coordinated with Trump to make the payments, which were aimed at keeping the women quiet prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Daniels claimed she had sex with Trump in 2006, more than a decade before he became president. Her attorney, Clark Brewster, said she met with prosecutors at their request earlier this month and that she “agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed.”

Cohen in a statement obtained by ABC News said Trump is the first current or former United States president to be indicted.

“I take no produce in issuing this statement and wish to also remind everyone of the presumption of innocence; as provided by the due process clause. However, I do take solace in validating the adage that no one is above the law; not even a former president. Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter; but rather just the beginning,” Cohen said, according to ABC News. “Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictment speak for itself. The two things I wish to say at this time is that accountability matters and I stand by my testimony and the evidence I have provided DANY.”

Trump’s son, Eric Trump, released a statement on Twitter.

“This is third world prosecutorial misconduct. It is the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year,” Eric Trump said.

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