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Donald Trump Indictment: A Breakdown of the Charges That Led to This Historical Moment

Donald Trump at a rally just days before a grand jury indicted him in Manhattan

It happened. It occurred. Donald Trump, who has been under a whole slew of investigations in several different states, has been indicted. He’s going to get arrested. His timing was off, but his sensationalized post on Truth social last week eventually came true on the evening of Thursday, March 30, 2023.

This is a pretty dizzying moment for the country. No president has ever been charged as a criminal before in U.S. history. This giant orange man-child will actually have to deal with the consequences of his actions. But what are those actions, exactly? And which investigation is this, again? There are a few. So here’s what you need to know.

Why Trump is getting indicted

This indictment came out of a grand jury based in Manhattan, meaning that the case at hand occurred in New York City. Remember Stormy Daniels? The adult film star who said she had an affair with Trump? And that Trump gave her $130,000 in hush money right before the 2016 election because he was worried that having an affair—with a porn star, no less, gasp!—would make him look bad?

That’s what Trump has been indicted for: the hush money scandal and subsequent cover-up.

Here’s what went down: Michael Cohen was Trump’s lawyer, personal counsel, “fixer,” and vice-president of the Trump Organization in 2016. Sometime very near the November election, Trump asked Cohen to pay Daniels $130,000 in “hush money” to keep the fact that Trump had sex with Daniels in 2006 from becoming public. Cohen paid another $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal for the same purpose.

Cohen paid both women through a shell company, then Trump paid Cohen back. The Trump Organization logged this reimbursement as a “legal expense.” According to federal prosecutors (via the AP), these expenses were then “grossed up” for tax deductions. The case made by federal prosecutors is that these payments amounted to unreported assistance to Trump’s campaign, which violates campaign finance law, which means they were illegal.

In 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion and campaign finance violations—over this exact case.

To get even more in-depth, Axios has a very informative timeline.

Trump, naturally, still denies all of this.

Before you go …

Because she is sassy and awesome, Daniels was not content with just burning Trump’s image. No, she burned him to a crisp any way she could. Most hilariously / disturbingly, in the initial fallout of this story, Daniels said that Trump’s penis looks like Toad from the Mario franchise. Actually, let’s dig into that full quote from her book, shall we? No time like the present!

He knows he has an unusual penis. It has a huge mushroom head. Like a toadstool … I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart … It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.

Stormy Daniels’ Full Disclosure, via The Daily Beast

Enjoy prison, Don!

(featured image: Brandon Bell, Getty Images)

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.