Court Battles

Indictment reportedly caught Trump, top advisers by surprise

The indictment that the Manhattan grand jury issued for former President Trump caught both him and his advisers by surprise when it was approved Thursday, multiple outlets reported. 

The Washington Post reported that Trump had started becoming cautiously optimistic about the future of the case looking into a hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and his advisers told him that any possible indictment would take some time if it was issued at all. 

Two people familiar with the matter told the Post that some of Trump’s attorneys were preparing to take a few days off and were not expecting new developments on the case for several weeks. 

The indictment was issued just after reports indicated that the grand jury would not hear additional evidence in the Trump case this week and was set to take a previously scheduled break until late April. 

People familiar with conversations between Trump aides and the former president told the Post that some aides started telling Trump he would not be indicted. 

The New York Times also reported that Trump was caught off-guard by the indictment. 

The indictment is remaining sealed, meaning the exact charges Trump is facing are not yet public, but the case stems from a $130,000 payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election for her to remain silent about an alleged affair she and Trump had. 

Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign finance violation among other federal charges in 2018 for making the payment. He has said that Trump directed him to make the payment and later reimbursed him. 

Trump has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen but denied that the reimbursement was related to campaign funding and that he had an affair with Daniels. 

An adviser told the Post that Trump is expected to appear in court in Manhattan on Tuesday for his arraignment. 

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Thursday that it has reached out to Trump’s attorney to plan his surrender for the arraignment. It said guidance would be given once a date for the hearing is set.

Tags Donald Trump hush money payment indictment Manhattan District Attorney Manhattan grand jury Michael Cohen Michael Cohen Stormy Daniels Stormy Daniels

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