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Explainer: Key Terms Related to Trump’s Case


FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at Dayton International Airport on Nov. 7, 2022.
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks at Dayton International Airport on Nov. 7, 2022.

UPDATED WITH TRUMP ARRIVAL: WASHINGTON - Former U.S. President Donald Trump has arrived at the Manhattan courthouse where he faces criminal charges resulting from an indictment by a New York grand jury, following an investigation into payments of hush money made to a porno star. But what is an indictment? A grand Jury? An arraignment?

As the legal proceedings involving Trump continue to unfold, many are closely monitoring the case and its potential implications on the political and legal landscape of the United States.

Here is an explanation of key terms related to Trump's case.


A legal document listing charges which have been approved by a grand jury.

Law enforcement officials fingerprint and photograph the defendant, a person being sued or persecuted, facing arraignments.

Trump was indicted last week for his role in a case involving alleged falsified records connected to a hush money payment made to the porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. As a result, Trump is now the first sitting or past president to face criminal charges.

Although the payment itself is legal, Trump is accused of using the money as a business cost, fabricating his business record.

Law (Adobe Stock)
Law (Adobe Stock)

Grand Jury

A type of legal proceeding featuring a group of citizens who are selected to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges against an individual. If they find valid charges, the grand jury produces ("hands up") the indictment against the individual involved.

Jury box (Adobe stock)
Jury box (Adobe stock)


A legal process where a defendant appears before a court to hear the charges against him/her and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. During an arraignment, the judge informs the defendant of their legal rights and sets the conditions for their release, such as bail.

If a defendant pleads guilty, the judge will impose punishment, typically at a later date.

Trump's lawyers have said he will plead not guilty on Tuesday.

Empty American Style Courtroom (Adobe Stock)
Empty American Style Courtroom (Adobe Stock)

Trump will surrender today shortly after 1700GMT and be arraigned, likely at 1815GMT. He is expected to publicly comment about the case against him later Tuesday at a planned "rally" in West Palm Beach, Florida, where his personal aircraft is based.

Some information in this report was sourced from Reuters.