Donald Trump Becomes First Former US President to be Indicted: What You Need to Know

On March 31, 2023, Donald Trump became the first former president of the United States to be indicted, according to a statement from a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.[0] The indictment, which remains under seal, relates to Trump’s alleged coordination of hush-money payments made in advance of the 2016 election. The charges against Trump are not yet known, but the former president’s attorney has been contacted to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment.[1] Trump is expected to surrender early next week and be arraigned on Tuesday, April 4th.

Trump’s indictment is historic and marks a significant moment in U.S. political history.[2] Despite facing several investigations into his conduct, Trump has always denied any wrongdoing. The outcome of these investigations could result in further legal issues for the former president, who is also facing two Justice Department probes into his conduct leading up to the January 6th riot and his handling of classified documents.[3] Additionally, state prosecutors in Georgia are investigating his attempts to reverse his 2020 election loss, and Trump and his children are facing a civil lawsuit from the New York Attorney General alleging they illegally inflated the value of their assets to secure more favorable loans.[3]

The specific charges against Trump related to the hush-money payments remain unknown, but legal experts have suggested that the case hinges on proving that Trump was directly involved in falsifying records and arranging the payments to benefit his election prospects. Trump’s lawyers may argue that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, made the payments as part of his job duties and without Trump’s knowledge.[3] They could also argue that the hush money payments weren’t campaign-related because they were intended to prevent personal embarrassment instead of shoring up an electoral victory.[3]

Regardless of the particulars of the case, Trump’s indictment has sparked reactions from both sides of the political aisle. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, accused the Manhattan D.A. of having “irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election.” In contrast, Senator Josh Hawley, another Republican, called the indictment a “demonstration of raw power” against Republicans and Independents.[4]

The indictment also raises questions about what would happen if Trump were to win the presidency while facing charges or a conviction.[5] The Office of Legal Counsel has previously stated that a sitting president cannot be indicted or prosecuted, but it has not addressed what would happen if someone becomes president after being prosecuted or while in jail.[6]

In any case, Trump’s indictment highlights the ongoing legal scrutiny he faces and the potential legal consequences of his actions as president. As the investigation continues and the case moves forward, it will be a significant moment in U.S. political history that will undoubtedly have long-term ramifications for both Trump and the country as a whole.

0. “Trump indictment: What are the next steps and the implications?” CBS News, 31 Mar. 2023,

1. “What Trump’s indictment could mean for his third run for president” The Boston Globe, 30 Mar. 2023,

2. “Trump indictment: Pence, DeSantis and more confirmed or potential 2024 rivals react” ABC News, 31 Mar. 2023,

3. “Trump Indicted By Manhattan Grand Jury—Arraignment Expected Tuesday On Over 30 Charges, Reports Say” Forbes, 31 Mar. 2023,

4. “Trump Rages at ‘Thugs’ Who ‘INDICATED’ Him” Rolling Stone, 30 Mar. 2023,

5. “Your questions about the Trump indictment, answered” POLITICO, 31 Mar. 2023,

6. “Can Trump Still Be Elected President Now That He’s Indicted?” TIME, 31 Mar. 2023,

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