What we know about Trump’s arrest

Trump, wearing a suit, stands in front of an American flag.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 4, 2023. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The first-ever indictment of a US president — sitting or former — may be imminent. Former President Donald Trump could soon face indictment and arrest by a Manhattan grand jury for fraud associated with allegedly paying hush money in 2016 to porn actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair.

According to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, for which Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, later reimbursed him. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case reportedly alleges that the Trump Organization falsely logged the payment to Daniels as a legal expense so it wouldn’t have to be disclosed as money benefiting Trump’s presidential campaign.

But if Bragg’s case is as reported in the media, he’s built it on an exceedingly uncertain legal theory. Even if Trump did the things he’s accused of, it’s not clear Bragg can legally charge Trump for them. For one, it is genuinely unclear whether the statute of limitations that applies to the specific charges Bragg reportedly plans to bring against Trump is five years, or a much briefer two-year period.

Nevertheless, the former president is in ongoing legal jeopardy, federally and in the state of Georgia. Trump is facing at least four investigations, including into his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in 2021, and possible mishandling of classified documents. And that legal jeopardy could have consequences not just for Trump but for American politics more broadly.

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