Former President Indicted for Falsifying Business Records

On April 4, former president Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business reports. New York State prosecutors accused the former president of paying hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 election, as well as other alleged offenses. 

This indictment is the culmination of a years-long probe into the alleged affair, which sent Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to prison on charges of misappropriation of campaign funds, and marks the first time in American history that a former or current president has been charged with a felony. 

“It is a representation of the fact that no one in the country is above the law, even the president,” freshman Eyob Sisay expressed. 

Only weeks before the 2016 election, Trump paid Daniels $130,000 in campaign money in an attempt to keep her from speaking out about the affair and hurting the Trump campaign. Cohen, who oversaw the transaction, served as an intermediary.

Junior Harlan Katyal shared, “I honestly think that the whole situation with Stormy Daniels was a violation of democracy considering that the funds should have been campaign funds, it’s pretty much voter fraud.” 

It is a representation of the fact that no one in the country is above the law, even the president.

— Eyob Sisay '26

Trump has also been accused of attempting to cover up another affair with Playboy model and actress Karen McDougal. Cohen was involved in this cover-up as well, as he worked with American Media Inc. (AMI), the parent company of the National Enquirer, to keep the story from being published. Cohen also allegedly paid McDougal $150,000 for her continued silence.

Each criminal charge Trump faces relates to a specific entry among the business records of the Trump Organization, according to the indictment. Prosecutors accuse Trump of repeatedly falsifying entries in the business records, allegedly in part to promote his candidacy. 

Sophomore Daniel Schwartz expressed his thoughts on the indictment, saying it “was an interesting decision because obviously Trump broke the law and deserves to be reprimanded but it’s controversial because it’s going to cause a lot of outrage from Trump’s very loyal fanbase.” 

Trump has repeatedly denied all accusations, smearing the case built against him as nothing more than a political hit job. According to The Hill, he claimed that Democrats had been “weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent.”

Senior Liam Kelly shared his views on the matter, saying, “I think it’s definitely politically motivated, but there is a real aspect to it as well.” 

Trump’s loyal supporters have rallied behind him and have taken to the streets of New York, as well as his Mar-A-Lago resort home, to protest.

According to Vox News, the New York District Attorney will have trouble winning its case. The statute of limitations for a crime of this nature is five years, and this one occurred over five years ago. 

Additionally, Trump could be found not guilty on a technicality — while the former president’s actions were illegal under federal law, they were legal under current New York State law. 

There is also a concern that if the case reaches the Supreme Court, it could be thrown out by the Republican supermajority.