March 31, 2023 Trump indictment news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer, Tori B. Powell and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:07 a.m. ET, April 1, 2023
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5:39 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

Stormy Daniels calls Trump indictment a vindication, but says she fears for her safety

From CNN's Jorge Engels

Stormy Daniels at the Linwood Dunn Theater on May 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Stormy Daniels at the Linwood Dunn Theater on May 11, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images/FILE)

The grand jury indictment of former US President Donald Trump was a "vindication," "monumental" and "epic," adult film star Stormy Daniels told the British newspaper, The Times.

Daniels also said she received a torrent of abuse within hours of the indictment and that for the first time, she is scared.

"The number and the intensity is the same as it was the first time around, but this time it's straight-up violent," Daniels said in the interview published Friday.
"It's especially scary because Trump himself is inciting violence and encouraging it," she added.

Daniels was supposed to appear on Britain's TalkTV for an exclusive interview with host Piers Morgan Friday afternoon. Piers Morgan wrote on his official Twitter account that Daniels had to “suddenly postpone” the interview minutes before it was scheduled to begin due to “security issues.”

5:13 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

Media cameras are expected to capture Trump walking down a courthouse hallway Tuesday

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

Former President Donald Trump is expected to walk down a hallway in view of media cameras on his way to a courtroom for his arraignment Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the planning. 

It is unclear whether any cameras will be permitted in the courtroom during the proceeding, prompted by a grand jury's indictment this week. Judge Juan Merchan will ultimately decide on courtroom media rules, and he has historically denied media access requests in other high-profile cases, like the Trump Organization trial last year.

Merchan did allow still photographers in the courtroom, however, for the organization's former CFO Allen Weisselberg’s sentencing in January. 

The 15th floor of 100 Centre Street, the courthouse where Trump will be arraigned, was closed to the public Friday, guarded by court officers. Guards will continue to secure it ahead of the proceeding Tuesday afternoon. 

Regularly scheduled jury proceedings will occur next week, but the floor where they are held will still technically be closed to the public.  

According to the source, these plans are fluid and could be changed.

The court building will have a 24-hour security presence through Tuesday, including the weekend, the source tells CNN.

3:03 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

How Republican lawmakers are reacting to the indictment of Donald Trump

From CNN staff

Sen. John Cornyn walks to the Senate Chambers for a nomination vote at the U.S. Capitol Building on December 5, 2022 in Washington, DC. 
Sen. John Cornyn walks to the Senate Chambers for a nomination vote at the U.S. Capitol Building on December 5, 2022 in Washington, DC.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Some Republican lawmakers are criticizing the Manhattan grand jury's Thursday indictment of Donald Trump. Here's what they're saying:

Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Senate GOP leadership, told CNN the Trump indictment "looks to me like this is an opportunity for this [district attorney] to try to make headlines and gain publicity.”

Rep. James Comer: The House Oversight Chairman attacked the “political witch-hunt” of former President Donald Trump the day after he was indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

“One thing that we’re concerned about in Washington, Congressman Jordan and myself, is if there is coordination being conducted here between Merrick Garland, DOJ and all these different entities that are going after Donald Trump,” Comer told Fox on Friday. “This is a political witch-hunt, they are doing everything in their ability to create a narrative that would hurt Donald Trump.”

Comer told CNN that Bragg’s investigation “a political stunt.”

Before the indictment, Comer and two other House Chairman sent a letter requesting testimony and information from Bragg on his investigation. 

Sen. John Barrasso: The Senate GOP Conference Chairman called the indictment a "political hit job" in a statement to CNN. 

“This is a politically-motivated prosecution by a far-left activist. If it was anyone other than President Trump, a case like this would never be brought. Instead of ordering political hit jobs, New York prosecutors should focus on getting violent criminals off the streets,” he said.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: The key Trump ally, who is also close to House GOP leadership, tweeted that she plans on traveling to New York City on Tuesday to protest Donald Trump’s indictment – the latest sign of how Republicans are racing to defend the former president.

Greene serves on the House Oversight Committee, one of the key committees trying to investigate the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and told CNN she regularly keeps Trump up to date on their investigative priorities.

Rep. Mike Johnson: Johnson, a member of House Republican leadership, attacked Bragg and said the indictment “all but ensured” former President Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.

“The person denigrating integrity, the integrity of our entire judicial system is Alvin Bragg, this Soros-funded political activist who is occupying the Manhattan DA’s office,” said Johnson on Fox News on Friday. “He’s spending all his time and resources going after the former President. Why? The timing is important, because the President has announced he is running again.”

The indictment has "ensured" that Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee "and likely get reelection" in 2024, Johnson added.

Rep. Barry Moore, a conservative Republican who has endorsed Trump, defended Republicans who have attacked Bragg before seeing any evidence against Trump. Moore said the indictment "smells pretty fishy."

Asked if he would consider re-evaluating after seeing evidence, Moore replied, “I'm open to thinking that. But I'm in the garbage business, you know, and so a lot of times, I know how to spot a pile of garbage, and this thing looks like a pile of garbage.”

He predicted that the indictment could actually help Trump’s presidential chances. Moore himself was indicted and eventually found not guilty on perjury charges in 2014, when he was a member of the Alabama State House.

“After I was indicted, that weekend, we had more people knock doors than any time in our campaign,” he added. “... We did, because the people saw it for what it was. I think the American people see this for what it is.”

Read more reactions here.

2:56 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik has spoken to Trump since indictment, sources say

From CNN's Melanie Zanona

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik has been in contact with former President Donald Trump since he was indicted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

CNN previously reported that Trump had been calling up allies, including members of GOP leadership and key committee members, to shore up support on Capitol Hill in the wake of his indictment, and he has told them he plans to fight the charges. 

Stefanik, the number-four House Republican, continues to be the highest-ranking House Republican to endorse Trump for his 2024 presidential bid and has been a key ally to the former president. At the House GOP retreat in Florida, Stefanik – who serves on a subcommittee on the alleged "weaponization" of the federal government — revealed she spoke to Trump and briefed him on the House GOP’s plans to aggressively investigate the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

6:12 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

Trump is expected to surrender Tuesday and face arraignment. Catch up on key developments in his indictment

From CNN's Devan Cole

Former President Donald Trump’s indictment by a New York grand jury has thrust the nation into uncharted political, legal and historical waters, and raised a slew of questions about how the criminal case will unfold.

If you are just reading in on this Friday afternoon, here's what you need to know:

What’s the indictment for and when will he appear in court? Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud in the indictment, CNN has reported. It remains under seal, meaning the exact charges are not yet public. The former president is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan criminal court next Tuesday, around 2:15 p.m. ET, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell CNN, although the timing remains fluid.

The investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office began when Trump was still in the White House and relates to a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels in late October 2016, days before the 2016 presidential election, to silence her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair.

Which charges are possibly at play? A target in the probe has been the payment made to Daniels and the Trump Organization’s reimbursement to Cohen.

Hush money payments aren’t illegal, but ahead of the indictment, prosecutors were weighing whether to charge Trump with falsifying the business records of the Trump Organization for how it reflected the reimbursement of the payment to Cohen, who said he advanced the money to Daniels. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York.

Prosecutors were also weighing whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records in the first degree for falsifying a record with the intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal another crime, which in this case could be a violation of campaign finance laws. That is a Class E felony. It carries a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum of four years. To prove the case, prosecutors would need to show Trump intended to commit a crime.

What comes next for Trump? The former president had first been asked to surrender Friday in New York, his lawyer said, but his defense said more time was needed and he’s expected in court Tuesday.

As for the former president’s initial court appearance: It’ll look, in some ways, like that of any other defendant. In others, it will look very different.

How did Trump respond? Trump was caught off guard by the grand jury’s decision to indict him, according to a person who spoke directly with him. While the former president was bracing for an indictment last week, he began to believe news reports that a potential indictment was weeks – or more – away.

The former president has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the matter and continued his attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and other Democrats following news of the indictment.

2:07 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

Judge signs off on DA request to publicly disclose Trump indictment that was returned, records show

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

This screenshot shows a portion of a court order from the judge overseeing the case against former President Donald Trump to grant the Manhattan District Attorney authorization to publicly disclose that an indictment against Trump was returned.
This screenshot shows a portion of a court order from the judge overseeing the case against former President Donald Trump to grant the Manhattan District Attorney authorization to publicly disclose that an indictment against Trump was returned. (From The Supreme Court of the State of New York)

The judge overseeing the case against former President Donald Trump signed off on an order Thursday which granted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's request to publicly disclose an indictment — currently under seal — that was returned by a grand jury earlier in the day against former President Donald Trump.

The court ordered district attorney authorization to disclose the grand jury decision “upon a finding that this disclosure to the public that the grand jury has returned a true bill in the above captioned case and that said indictment has been filed with the Court would be in the public interest and an appropriate exercise of this Court’s discretion,” according to the document.

The filing reading — The People of the State of New York, against Donald J. Trump – is among the first to be unsealed in the case as the public awaits the unsealing of the indictment.

1:35 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

Ivanka Trump says she is "pained" for her father and country in Instagram post following indictment

From CNN's Kit Maher and David Wright


President Donald Trump speaks as his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump looks on during a March 2020 news briefing at the White House.
President Donald Trump speaks as his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump looks on during a March 2020 news briefing at the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In an Instagram Story on Friday morning, Ivanka Trump – who has remained largely silent in political matters concerning her father in the fallout of the 2020 election – expressed gratitude to people “across the political spectrum expressing support and concern” over former President Donald Trump's indictment.

“I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern,” she posted.

Ivanka Trump was a senior adviser in the Trump administration during his presidency.

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, called the indictment "troubling" during an appearance at the FII Institute’s Priority Summit in Miami Beach on Friday. 

“I think what was announced last night was also very unprecedented. And as an American, it’s very troubling to me to see the leader of the opposition party be indicted,” Kushner said, according to video posted by Bloomberg News

“And I think that that shows, obviously, the fear that the Democrats have of Trump and the political strength that he has,” Kushner continued. “And just as a family member, obviously, Ivanka and I love him very much. It’s been hard to watch the opponents of him politically continue to break every norm over the last years to try to – to try to get him, and you know we’ve seen them accuse him of colluding with Russia, we saw them impeach him, we saw them raid his home. And all this is a continuation of that.” 

Kushner, who served in the White House during Trump’s administration, added that “what I’ll say is I’ve been by him during a lot of these instances, and it’s only made him stronger – and his resolve to take on big challenges, to fight for change, to fight for the American people, has only gotten stronger.”

Like his wife, Kushner is not involved in his 2024 campaign and has largely steered clear of political matters tied to the former president since he left office.

1:47 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

These are the security measures the Secret Service will implement for Tuesday's Trump court hearing

From CNN's Evan Perez

The US Secret Service hasn’t played a role in the negotiations between the Trump lawyers and the Manhattan District Attorney over former President Donald Trump’s Tuesday court appearance, a person briefed on the matter said.

The Secret Service has limited its involvement to coordinating security arrangements, which have been in the works for weeks. 

The agency is using its standard protocols, which means Secret Service employees will test the magnetometers at the courthouse to ensure they are up to Secret Service standards. 

The plans, which have already been worked out, include Secret Service employees at the magnetometers before Trump arrives. They will enforce distance requirements to make sure no one comes close to the former president. His detail will be with him as he is processed, fingerprinted and photographed for mug shots.

At this point, the former president isn’t expected to be handcuffed as he will be surrounded by armed federal agents for his protection.  

12:41 p.m. ET, March 31, 2023

Trump is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, sources say

From CNN's Gloria Pazmino and Lauren Del Valle

Former President Donald Trump is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan criminal court around 2:15 p.m. ET Tuesday, two sources with knowledge of the matter tell CNN.

Officials involved in the planning of Trump's appearance are considering pausing all other case activity at the court during the time that the former president is expected to appear, according to a source with knowledge of the plans.

An adjournment of all other matters at the courthouse Tuesday afternoon would reduce the amount of foot traffic in the building for security reasons, the source said.