What is an indictment?
(NEXSTAR) — This weekend, former Pres. Donald Trump claimed he expects to be arrested in the coming week, presumably in connection to the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into an alleged hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Bragg’s probe into the $130,000 payment made ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election has increasingly been viewed as a viable legal challenge for Trump, especially as both Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified before the grand jury in the case. Bragg’s investigation has worked to determine if the payment violated campaign finance rules.
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On Saturday, Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social: “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”
The former president claimed he learned this from “illegal leaks” from Bragg’s office. As Associated Press reports, Trump lawyer Susan Necheles said Trump’s comments on Saturday were “based on the media reports,” though no further information was given.
It’s important to note that as of Saturday afternoon, no announcement has been made by the DA’s office and there’s no indication charges have yet been filed against the former president. Nevertheless, it’s believed a decision will come soon.
All of this may be confusing, so it helps to reiterate: as of now, Trump has not been formally charged for a crime. The former president has also not been indicted.
If you’re wondering what exactly “indictment” means, the U.S. Department of Justice explains that an indictment is formal notice that someone receives, notifying them it’s believed they committed a crime. The indictment lists what charges they’re facing.
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So what would it take for an indictment to happen?
The way it works for felony charges in the U.S. is that a grand jury will examine all potential evidence to determine if a crime was committed. If the jury, generally made up of 16-23 people, decides there’s enough evidence that a crime occurred, an indictment will come.
Despite Trump’s claim that he will be arrested Tuesday, it’s unlikely the former president would be arrested, since Trump officials themselves told Associated Press they would “ follow the normal procedures” if an indictment does come down. An arrest would only happen in the event an indicted person doesn’t surrender, according to AP.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined requests for comment from several outlets, including MSNBC and AP.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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