Below is a timeline of the events leading up to the charges:
The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to the porn star stormy daniels in October 2016 to prevent him from talking about a sexual encounter said he had with Trump in 2006.
Trump has always denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Michael Cohen, a former private attorney and Trump mediator, says he paid Daniels with his own money and was not directed by the Trump company or campaign to make the payment. He said Trump never reimbursed him for the payment.
Cohen would later contradict both statements under oath, stating that Trump did, in fact, direct him to make the payment and he reimbursed him.
The New Yorker magazine reports that Trump had an affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal from 2006 to 2007. The magazine said American Media Inc, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, paid McDougal $150,000 shortly after Trump became the nominee. Republican for president in 2016 by exclusive rights to his story.
The National Enquirer never published the story.
When asked by reporters if Trump knew about the payment to Daniels, he replied: “No.” When asked why Cohen made the payment, Trump said: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”
In an ethics disclosure, Trump acknowledges reimbursing Cohen for the $130,000 he paid for Daniels.
Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal lawyers at the time, says Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump two months before the 2016 election in which the two discussed a possible payment to McDougal. Trump denies any wrongdoing, calling Cohen’s tape “perhaps illegal.”
Cohen pleads guilty to criminal charges in Manhattan federal court, including campaign finance violations for the hush money payments. He testified that Trump ordered him to make the payments “for the primary purpose of influencing the election.”
In their indictment against Cohen, prosecutors say a candidate for federal office referred to as “Individual-1” arranged the payments. Trump was not charged with any crime. Geoffrey Berman, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan at the time, later confirmed that Trump was Guy-1.
Trump, on Twitter, calls the silent money payments a “simple private transaction.” In an interview with Reuters, he says the payment to Daniels “was not a campaign contribution” and “there was no violation based on what we did.”
Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney at the time, issues a subpoena to the Trump Organization, the Trump family’s real estate company, to obtain records of hush money payments.
Vance’s office is indicting the Trump Organization and its top financial executive on charges of tax fraud. Trump himself is not charged with any crime, and the indictment contains no reference to hush money payments.
Two top prosecutors leading the investigation into Trump’s business practices resign. One of the prosecutors, Mark Pomerantz, later said his resignation came after Alvin Bragg, who replaced Vance as district attorney, told him he had doubts about whether to pursue a case against Trump.
Bragg’s office says the investigation is ongoing.
The Trump Organization is found guilty of tax fraud after a trial in a New York state court in Manhattan.
Bragg’s office begins presenting evidence about Trump’s alleged role in the 2016 hush money payments to a grand jury.
Manhattan prosecutors invite Trump to testify before the grand jury, which legal experts say is a sign that an indictment could be forthcoming soon. Cohen testifies before the grand jury.
March 18, 2023
Trump says on his Truth Social social media platform that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and calls on his supporters to protest. A Trump spokesman said the former president had not been notified of any arrests.
March 23, 2023
Bragg’s office says Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested and tells congressional Republicans seeking communications, documents and testimony about the investigation that they were interfering with an ongoing investigation.
March 24, 2023
Trump warns of possible “death and destruction” if charged with a crime.
March 30, 2023
A law enforcement source and US media reports say Trump is indicted.