Trump and his aides were reportedly caught off guard by his indictment and believed it was weeks away

Donald Trump
Former President Donald TrumpJoe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Trump and his aides were surprised by the timing of his indictment, the NYT's Maggie Haberman reports.

  • Some advisors previously believed the decision wouldn't come until late next month.

  • Trump and some advisors are currently mulling over next steps at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump and his aides were caught off guard by news of his indictment, believing the decision wouldn't come for weeks,  according to The New York Times' Maggie Haberman.

The former US president is currently at Mar-a-Lago mapping out his next steps after a New York grand jury voted to indict him, per the Times. Some advisors had been confident that the vote wouldn't come until the end of April.

Jeff Zeleny, chief national affairs correspondent at CNN, confirmed that Trump was surprised by the timing.

Trump is the first former US president to be indicted, though the specific charges are unknown.

"As with any other case, we are going to fight this right from the start," Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina, told Insider. "We will fight this miscarriage of justice immediately and aggressively."

Thursday's indictment comes after the Manhattan district attorney's office conducted a lengthy investigation into a $130,000 hush-money payment that Trump's ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

Cohen in 2018 pleaded guilty to several felonies in connection to the payment, including tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations. He said that he paid Daniels off at Trump's direction in exchange for her silence about an affair she claims to have had with Trump in 2006.

The former president has denied the affair, and he and his lawyers also deny any knowledge of the hush-money payment.

Trump released a statement shortly after news of his indictment broke on Thursday, accusing prosecutors of engaging in "political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history."

"The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here," Trump said in his statement. "Everyone can see it. So our Movement, and our Party - united and strong - will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, confirmed his indictment to Insider.

"As with any other case, we are going to fight this right from the start," Tacopina said. "We will fight this miscarriage of justice immediately and aggressively."

The DA's office also released a statement Thursday evening, saying that they contacted Trump's attorney "to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.'s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected."

Read the original article on Business Insider