Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president to be indicted on criminal charges on Thursday, with a Manhattan grand jury voting to hold him accountable for his role in paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump’s prosecution will be carried out by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is currently run by Alvin Bragg; an official indictment is likely to be announced in the coming days, with Bragg’s office asking Trump to surrender and face arraignment on charges that have yet to be announced. Trump allegedly reimbursed his former lawyer Michael Cohen for a payout to Daniels through the Trump Organization, labeling the charges as “legal fees”—which can be a felony in New York if they were falsified to cover up a crime.
While Trump will almost certainly be released upon arraignment and his criminal trial likely won’t take place until 2024, falsifying business records in New York as part of an attempt to commit a crime carries with it a penalty of up to four years in prison. This vote to indict caps off an investigation that spans back nearly five years, and is a sign that Trump’s 2024 presidential election race—which kicked off in earnest this week with Trump’s first campaign rally of the election season in Texas—may have the odds stacked against it.