“It’s finally happening,” tweeted Kathy Griffin following the news that Donald Trump was indicted over his alleged role in a hush-money payment scheme and coverup involving adult film star Stormy Daniels. Once The New York Times confirmed that a New York grand jury voted to indict the twice-impeached former president, celebrities celebrated online. “FINALLY! SOMETHING,” tweeted Michael Moore, who included an orange square representing the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s complexion.
I like people who aren’t indicted! 🇺🇸
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) March 30, 2023
Happy indictment day, to those who celebrate.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 30, 2023
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) March 30, 2023
Did somebody say indictment?? pic.twitter.com/nXavE5xx0W
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) March 30, 2023
“Happy indictment day, to those who celebrate,” tweeted George Takei. “Did someone say indictment?” tweeted Padma Lakshmi, along with a GIF of children dancing in the streets. “I like people who aren’t indicted!” tweeted Meghan McCain, invoking the comment that Trump, 76, made about her father, the late Sen. John McCain (“I like people who weren’t captured“), during the runup to the 2016 Presidential election.
“TRUMP INDICTED! Manhattan – with the Wiesel flip! A beautiful day – a day I thought I’d never see – Trump has done the impossible; the entire system set up to make a president above the law – without admitting it. Only a pathological criminal idiot of such overwhelming proportions – could change that – congrats to Trump – for piercing the imperial presidency – with cretinism beyond what structure could bear,” tweeted John Cusack. Bette Midler was a little more succinct: “INDICTED!”
Trump’s usual gang of defenders decried this indictment. Cancun’s favorite tourist, Sen. Ted Cruz, called the indictment a “catastrophic escalation in the weaponization of the justice system.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took a break from attacking the LGBTQ+ community to defend the man who nicknamed him “Meatball Ron,” calling the indictment “un-American.” However, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer reminded those across the aisle that “Donald Trump is subject to the same laws as every American. He will be able to avail himself of the legal system and a jury, not politics, to determine his fate according to the facts and the law.”
Donald Trump is subject to the same laws as every American. He will be able to avail himself of the legal system and a jury, not politics, to determine his fate according to the facts and the law. pic.twitter.com/1DeThHDSS6
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 31, 2023
Author Stephen King issued a warning to these and other members of the GOP. “Wise up, Republicans,” he tweeted. “Don’t believe the lies. This isn’t political. Donald Trump did this to himself. He betrayed your trust.”
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) March 30, 2023
Wise up, Republicans. Don’t believe the lies. This isn’t political. Donald Trump did this to himself.
He betrayed your trust.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 30, 2023
The MAGA Republicans in office lied for him and want to undermine and overturn our entire legal system to keep covering up for him. It’s past time for every Republican in office to declare they are with the American people in demanding Trump & his co-conspirators stand trial.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 30, 2023
“Trump Indicted! First among many!” tweeted director Rov Reiner. Alyssa Milano had a more realistic observation on the motion. “As Americans, we deserve leaders who act honorably in our interests and govern in our name. A Grand Jury of everyday Americans across race, background, and party has indicted the former MAGA President,” she tweeted. “The MAGA Republicans in office lied for him and want to undermine and overturn our entire legal system to keep covering up for him. It’s past time for every Republican in office to declare they are with the American people in demanding Trump & his co-conspirators stand trial.”
Trump reportedly faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud in the indictment, according to CNN. The Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation began when Trump was still president and relates to a $130,000 payment made by Trump’s then-attorney, Michael Cohen, in late October 2016. The alleged hush money was to silence her from going public with an alleged affair between her and Donald Trump.
The exact charges will be made known in the coming days. The former president is expected to surrender in New York on Friday (Mar. 31), with a court date set for Apr. 4.
Hush money payments aren’t illegal, notes CNN, which states that Trump could be charged with falsifying business records regarding the alleged payout. “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,” notes CNN, adding that this is a Class E felony that carries a sentence of one to four years.
However, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern writes that an “extremely unusual set of circumstances gave rise to this alleged crime” and that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg doesn’t have “the ability to fortify his charges with precedent,” which may give Trump “ample room to question their legitimacy.”