Donald Trump, the first former U.S. president to face a criminal charge, has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury for payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of an extramarital sexual encounter. The charges remain under seal, and prosecutors are working to coordinate Trump’s surrender, which could happen early next week. The indictment injects a local district attorney’s office into the heart of a national presidential race and ushers in criminal proceedings in a city where the ex-president called home for decades. Trump, who denies any wrongdoing and has repeatedly assailed the investigation, called the indictment “political persecution.” Prosecutors confirmed the indictment and said they had reached out to Trump’s defense team to coordinate a surrender. This case may turn in part on the testimony of a key witness, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges arising from the hush money payments. Trump has long decried the Manhattan investigation as “the greatest witch hunt in history” and now faces a threat to his liberty in a borough where more than 75% of voters went against him in the last election.

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