Donald Trump: Grand jury votes to indict former president over hush money payment to Stormy Daniels
Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury in New York over a hush money payment made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.
No former US president has ever been criminally indicted.
The exact nature of the charges was still unclear on Friday because the indictment remained under seal.
Prosecutors said they were working to co-ordinate Trump's surrender, which could happen early next week.
They did not say whether they intended to seek prison time in the event of a conviction, a development that wouldn't prevent Trump from seeking and assuming the presidency.
The news is set to shake the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, in which Trump leads most polls.
Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly assailed the investigation, called the indictment "political persecution" and predicted it would damage Democrats in 2024.
In a statement confirming the charges, defense lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said Trump "did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court."
A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office confirmed the indictment and said prosecutors had reached out to Trump's defense team to coordinate a surrender. Tacopina said Trump is "likely" to turn himself in on Tuesday.
District Attorney Alvin Bragg left his office Thursday evening without commenting.
The case centers on well-chronicled allegations from a period in 2016 when Trump's celebrity past collided with his political ambitions.
Prosecutors for months scrutinised money paid to porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, whom he feared would go public with claims that they had extramarital sexual encounters with him.
The timing of the indictment appeared to come as a surprise to Trump campaign officials following news reports that criminal charges were likely weeks away.
The former president was at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, on Thursday and filmed an interview with a conservative commentator earlier in the day.
The prosecution also means that Trump will have to simultaneously fight for his freedom and political future, while also fending off potentially more perilous legal threats, including investigations into attempts by him and his allies to undo the 2020 presidential election as well as into the hoarding of hundreds of classified documents.