Former president Trump arrested

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

UPDATE: The indictment against the former president has been unsealed and can be read here


Former president Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan, making him the first former president to be indicted. The investigation into the former president stems from a payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, and whether or not that payment constituted a campaign finance violation. As of the time of writing, Trump is in New York preparing to turn himself in for what has been reported to be over 30 charges.


Pittsburgh-based attorney Ryan Tutera, who has represented politicians in the area on criminal charges before, said that “we have to let the process play out.”


“When a grand jury returns an indictment, it is a recommendation of charges based on a very thing level of proof, they don’t have to necessarily be able to sustain a conviction,” Tutera said. “So, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be found guilty… and you may have [some] issues to contend with at the trial level for the prosecution.”


Ethan Rowinski, a freshman broadcast production major, said that he feels this is “a weird charge to get him on.”


“For all the stuff that he has done, it seems like this is a weird charge to get him on,” Rowinski said. “Though at the end of the day, it is better to get him for something than nothing.”


Rowinski is not the only student who feels this way. Nick Castellucio said that if the charges only involve the Stormy Daniels payment, then they are “low hanging fruit,” but if they involve his taxes as a whole then “there’ll be a better chance for him to get real charges and maybe even go to jail.”


Castellucio also criticized Trump’s connection to sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell and said that there should have been further investigation into their relationship.


Tutera said that he feels concern that supporters of the former president would protest the charge and that the indictment may open a “pandora’s box” for prosecuting political adversaries.


“The thing that I struggle with, is does this open up Pandora’s box, for further tit for tat political vengeance when the other party gets in,’ Tutera said. “When this blows over… are [Republicans] going to then go and grind axes with the Democrats, and then does it just go on endlessly? I mean, it’s a real question that we have to consider, is this healthy for our country?”


Tutera added that “there’s people saying, well, this contorts with the rule of law, because no one is above the rule of law. But I would venture a guess that he is not the first president to have done something that is improper or questionably illegal.”


Supporters of the former president and Trump himself have alleged that the indictment is a form of political persecution. The former president wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, that Alvin Bragg, the district attorney bringing forth the charges, is a “RADICAL LEFT, SOROS BACKED, DISTRICT ATTORNEY” and that “AT LEAST HE CAN TELL HIS TRUMP HATING WIFE AND FRIENDS THAT HE IS GOING AFTER THE VERY SUCCESSFUL 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”


Tutera said that the timing of the indictment raises the question of “is this political, or is this something that has to be addressed by law enforcement officials?”


“The question is, when one uses their discretion to make the decision to make that charge… are they doing so thoughtfully and are they doing so reasonably?” Tutera said. “Are they doing so without any motive, and that’s where I think we are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun and into the abyss of what comes from this, and that’s what concerns me the most.”