Former US President Donald Trump has reacted with outrage at the indictment against him in New York. "This is political persecution and electoral interference at the highest level in history," said Thursday evening (local time) in a written statement from the Republican, who wants to run again as his party's presidential candidate in the 2024 election.
According to the media, a so-called grand jury in New York voted to indict Trump in connection with hush money payments to a porn actress. The US media reported this on Thursday evening - the exact charges and details are still unclear. Never before in US history has an ex-president been charged with a crime.
Trump sees the indictment as an "attack on our country". It is also an attack on the "once" free elections, the US is now a "Third World country" and a nation in decline, the Republican wrote on Thursday on the network and Twitter replacement Truth Social that he co-founded. In his post, several words were in capital letters, the word "accused" was misspelled.
Shortly before his election as president in 2016, Trump had paid hush money to the porn actress - this could conflict with campaign finance rules. A 23-member grand jury will decide whether to press charges after prosecutors have presented evidence. Trump had described the investigation in New York, like other investigations against him before, as a "witch hunt".
Trump also spoke of this in his reaction to the historical development in New York. He accused the Democrats of trying to harm him politically since his first presidential bid for the 2016 election and of harassing him with various investigations during his tenure. "The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession to 'get' Trump, but now they have done the unthinkable - impeach a completely innocent person in an act of blatant electoral interference," Trump said. "This has never happened in the history of our country."
Weaponizing the American judicial system to crack down on a political opponent who happens to be the leading Republican candidate for president has never happened before, Trump wrote, predicting it would backfire on President Joe Biden and his Democrats.