Why was Donald Trump indicted on criminal charges and what happened with Stormy Daniels?

Why was Donald Trump indicted on criminal charges and what happened with Stormy Daniels?

Former US president Donald Trump has become the first former president to face criminal charges, for how he declared the $130,000 (£100,000) payment he allegedly made to Stormy Daniels, 44.

Mr Trump allegedly paid Ms Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) to keep quiet about an affair they had. Since the payment was made a month before the election, it has been considered a campaign violation.

Trump is expected to appear in court to face the charges and enter a plea in New York next Tuesday (April 4).

He’s also seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024, so his arrest could have a major impact on his campaign.

Why was Donald Trump indicted?

Although the payment of hush money delivered to Daniels was legal, Trump allegedly recorded it as a business expense. Falsifying business records is illegal in New York.

Trump reportedly faces more than two dozen charges related to business fraud, albeit this has not been formally confirmed by the US media.

Trump can still run for president as the constitution doesn’t say anything about disqualifying a person for office based on pending criminal charges or a conviction.

Timeline of the Trump-Daniels case


Ms Daniels previously told reporters that she met Mr Trump at a charity golf tournament in July 2006. She alleged that the pair had sex at his hotel room at Lake Tahoe. He was 60 at the time and she was 27.

Mr Trump was already married to his wife, Melania Trump, at the time Ms Daniels alleges the affair happened.


In 2011, Ms Daniels agreed to an interview with In Touch magazine about the affair, and later said that she was approached by an unknown man soon after and told to “leave Trump alone”.

In a 2018 interview with Anderson Cooper, she claimed that during the 2011 incident (where her young daughter was present) that the same man told her: “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.”


In October 2016, days before Mr Trump was elected president, Ms Daniels said she was paid $130,000 by Mr Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

March 2018

In 2018, while Mr Trump was president, Ms Daniels gave an interview on 60 Minutes.

Shortly beforehand, a shell company linked to Trump’s lawyer Mr Cohen threatened her with a $20 million (£16m) lawsuit. It claimed that she had broken their non-disclosure deal.

August 2018

Mr Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and breaking campaign finance rules.

He initially claimed that Mr Trump wasn’t involved in the payment, but later said that Mr Trump had directed him to pay Ms Daniels.

Mr Cohen also said that the then-president paid him back, with Mr Trump recording payments as “legal fees”.

Mr Trump wrote on social media that the money came from him, insisting the payments were not a campaign violation.

October 2018

Ms Daniels published a memoir, Full Disclosure, in which she wrote about her alleged affair with Mr Trump.

January 2023

In January, Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, convened a grand jury to evaluate the evidence in the “hush money” case.

March 2023

Mr Trump, who was invited to testify before a grand jury investigating the Daniels case, has been indicted.

Trump is expected to appear in court to face the charges and enter a plea in New York on April 4. According to Trump’s lawyers, Trump will surrender and turn himself in for processing.

Following the plea, he would then be released with another court date. Trump would not have to post bail given the nature of the charges.