Former President Donald Trump made history as the first president ever to be indicted on criminal charges.
Many of his critics were happy to see the indictment, with Central Park Five Yusef Salaam and Reverend Al Sharpton included.
According to multiple reports, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on more than 30 charges related to business fraud on Thursday, March 30. Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg has been investigating Trump’s role in a cover-up relating to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, paying adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to the New York Post, the indictment may also be related to a $150,000 payment made from the National Enquirer to Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Trump reportedly attempted to keep Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal from going public with news of Trump engaging in extramarital sexual relations. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 in a Manhattan court and was sentenced to three years in prison for both Daniels and McDougal’s “hush money” payments.
Salaam, like many other of Trump’s critics, felt the indictment was “karma” for Trump’s actions toward him and the four other teenagers that were wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman jogging in Central Park back in 1989. Trump took out full-page ads in several New York newspapers that called for the state of New York to adopt the death penalty.
Salaam is now a candidate for New York City Council.
“For those asking about my statement on the indictment of Donald Trump – who never said sorry for calling for my execution – here it is: Karma,” Salaam wrote on Twitter.
Sharpton also agreed with Salaam’s comments.
“All I can say is, what goes around comes around,” Sharpton said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “It’s not lost on those of us who were there in 1989 that Donald Trump will likely walk into the same courthouse where the Exonerated 5 were falsely convicted for a crime they did not commit.”
“Let’s not forget that it was Donald Trump who took out full-page ads calling for these five Black and Brown young men to get the death penalty,” said Sharpton.
Sharpton concluded, “This is the same man who’s now calling for violence when he has to go through the same system. The same man will have to stand up in a courtroom and see firsthand what the criminal justice system is like.”
Trump and his defense lawyers are expected to make arrangements with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for the former president to turn himself in, according to CNN. He is expected to appear in court next Tuesday.
“Trump did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court,” Trump’s attorneys, Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said in a statement on Thursday.
Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman is also one of many who favors the indictment.
“No one in this country is above the law – including former President Trump. Being indicted for falsifying business records with hush money is only the beginning of being held accountable for his crimes,” Bowman said.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and legal experts have expressed that Trump’s indictment makes for a very weak case, according to multiple reports.
“I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage,” former Vice President Mike Pence told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview on Thursday night. “It appears to millions of Americans to be nothing more than a political prosecution that’s driven by a prosecutor who literally ran for office on a pledge to indict the former president.”
George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley told Fox News that the indictment was “illegally pathetic.”
“There’s a good reason why the Department of Justice did not prosecute this case: Because it’s been down this road before. It tried a case against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards arguing that hush money paid to another woman, who bore a child out of that relationship, was in fact a campaign violation. That was a much stronger case, but they lost,” said Turley.
He continued,” Even if you can bootstrap that dead misdemeanor to something alive, you’re essentially arguing a federal case that the Department of Justice declined. But it’s also a case that requires you to show, if that is the basis of this indictment, that Trump’s only, his sole motive for paying this money or having third-parties pay it was for the election.”
The details of the charges that Trump faces have yet to be made available to the public. It has been reported that the indictment has been filed under seal and will be officially announced in the coming days. Bragg and his office have confirmed the indictment.