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Donald Trump has been indicted following a years-long investigation by Manhattan prosecutors that has led to the first criminal charges against a former US president in the country’s history, according to media reports. 

The case against Trump, who is running as a Republican candidate for president in 2024, comes after a grand jury in New York heard evidence from witnesses including Michael Cohen, the former president’s one-time lawyer. Cohen has claimed he was ordered in 2016 to pay $130,000 to porn actor Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair.

The exact nature of the charges was not immediately known, according to multiple US media reports. The New York Times first reported the indictment, which it said would be filed under seal. 

Whether the payments to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, violated campaign finance and accounting laws has been the subject of a four-year investigation by the Democratic-led Manhattan district attorney’s office. Cohen was sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges including campaign finance violations linked to the payment. 

The charges come after two weeks of intense speculation about the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, which started when Trump announced that he expected to be arrested last week. Media reports earlier this week indicated the grand jury hearing evidence was prepared to take an extended break from its work, prompting observers to ask whether the investigation had run aground. 

The indictment is all but certain to trigger a fierce backlash from Trump’s supporters in Washington and across the country. Jim Jordan, the Republican chair of the House judiciary committee and a staunch supporter of the former president, issued a one-word press release following the reports: “Outrageous.” 

Trump himself had called for his supporters to protest and “take our nation back” in the event that he was indicted and arrested. 

The Manhattan DA’s office secured a criminal conviction against the former president’s businesses last year over a 13-year tax fraud scheme carried out by senior executives at the Trump Organization. 

Trump is also facing a civil case brought by the New York attorney-general’s office, and is under investigation in Georgia over his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

A special counsel at the Department of Justice is considering whether to charge Trump over his alleged role in inciting riots on Capitol Hill in January 2021.

The DA’s office, the Trump campaign and a lawyer for Trump did not immediately comment.

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