Former president Donald Trump has been indicted—what exactly did he do and where is he headed?



Donald Trump’s indictment has attracted an abundance of attention from the press.

For the first time in United States history, a former president has been charged with criminal activity. On April 4, former president Donald Trump was charged with 34 counts of felonies. These pertained to the falsification of business records in the first degree. 

While this seems highly business-related and somewhat unsurprising due to Trump’s businessman career and turbulent personality, the indictment is more closely related to certain individuals. 

Allegedly, Trump paid hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels—$130,000, to be exact. In order to keep their affair private, a former lawyer of Trump by the name of Daniel Cohen made this agreement with Daniels before the 2016 election. Daniels claims that she was threatened both physically and legally to keep quiet, and she accepted the money in order to keep her family safe.

Despite this, Daniels later agreed to interviews with both In Touch magazine and 60 Minutes, both of which were aired in 2018. She discussed her affair with Trump as well as the threats she faced, even acknowledging that she could face severe fines for publicly talking about such matters. There are even links implying that Cohen threatened Daniels with a 20 million dollar lawsuit for breaking the non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

In itself, paying “hush money” for an NDA is not considered an illegal activity. However, Trump had these expenses labeled as legal services for Cohen, which is falsification of business records—a crime. 

Depending on the circumstances, falsifying a business record is either a misdemeanor or a felony, and in Trump’s case, every count was labeled as a felony. The charge is increased from a felony to a misdemeanor when a second crime is attempted and the falsification of records is used as a cover-up. However, the secondary crime by Trump is not required to be specified, and there is no official word on it as of late.

Due to his age and lack of past criminal offenses, there is little chance that Trump will go to prison in any context of the case.

Although several pop sources have stated that Trump will be serving over 100 years due to the four-year maximum sentence for the crime furthered by the 34 counts, it is unlikely that Trump will be serving any time at all. Due to his age and lack of past criminal offenses, there is little chance that Trump will go to prison in any context of the case, according to New York criminal defense attorney Daniel Hocchieser.

Hocchieser also noted that because of the relatively small payment that Trump and Cohen made to Daniels, there is an even smaller chance that Trump will be spending time in New York state prison. While $130,000 is a hefty sum of money, in the context of the offense at hand, it is on the lower end of the spectrum.

While the situation of Trump’s actions is certainly convoluted and walks the line of legality, the indictment of the former president has sent shockwaves across the country. While those in opposition to Trump see this as yet another blow to his record, his supporters grow ever closer by defending their leader. The outcome of the case is a ways out, but regardless of the ruling, there will surely be a reaction to await.