Breaking: NYT Reports Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump for a Felony Related to “Hush Money” Payments; No Information Yet on Whether There is an Attempt to Bootstrap a Federal Campaign Finance Charge (Which May Not Work)

Breaking NYT:

A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to four people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges.

The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.

Mr. Trump has for decades avoided criminal charges despite persistent scrutiny and repeated investigations, creating an aura of legal invincibility that the vote to indict now threatens to puncture.

His actions surrounding his 2020 electoral defeat are now the focus of a separate federal investigation, and a Georgia prosecutor is in the final stages of an investigation into Mr. Trump’s attempts to reverse the election results in that state.

But unlike the investigations that arose from his time in the White House, this case is built around a tawdry episode that predates Mr. Trump’s presidency. The reality star turned presidential candidate who shocked the political establishment by winning the White House now faces a reckoning for a hush money payment that buried a sex scandal in the final days of the 2016 campaign…

To turn a misdemeanor false records charge into a felony under NY law, the falsification must be in furtherance of “another crime.” I’ve expressed some skepticism about whether a federal campaign finance crime could be used in state court (and whether there is a campaign finance crime at all). But we’ll have to see the indictment to know.

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