Donald Trump indicted
A New York City grand jury hearing evidence in an investigation of the former president voted to indict Donald Trump for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to four people with knowledge of the matter. He became the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges.
The development will shake up the 2024 presidential race, in which Trump is a candidate. Follow our live updates.
The felony indictment, filed under seal by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, will most likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin Bragg, will have asked Trump to surrender and to face arraignment.
While the specific charges remain unknown for now, prosecutors have focused on a $130,000 payment made to a porn actress who claimed to have had an affair with Trump.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s fixer at the time, made the payment during the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. The Trump Organization’s internal records falsely identified the reimbursements made to Cohen as legal expenses.
Trump has consistently denied all wrongdoing and attacked Bragg, a Democrat, accusing him of leading a politically motivated prosecution. A conviction is not a sure thing.
U.S. elections: The indictment could throw the race for the Republican nomination — which Trump leads in most polls — into uncharted territory. Whether an indictment would rally Republican voters to Trump’s side or erode his standing among them is uncertain. It is possible that Trump’s legal problems will lead voters to seek out an alternative.
A volatile new phase: Trump has for decades avoided criminal charges despite persistent scrutiny and repeated investigations, creating an aura of legal invincibility that the indictment now threatens to puncture. His actions surrounding his 2020 electoral defeat are the focus of a separate federal investigation.
Russia arrests an American journalist
Evan Gershkovich, a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, was detained Thursday in Yekaterinburg, a city about 900 miles east of Moscow in the Ural Mountains, the Russian Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., said in a statement. He is accused of espionage.
The arrest is a new escalation in Russian tensions with foreign media organizations since the start of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Gershkovich, 31, is believed to be the first American reporter to be held as an accused spy in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Wall Street Journal vehemently denied Russia’s accusations and said in a statement that it was concerned for Gershkovich’s safety. The Biden administration condemned the detention. “The targeting of American citizens by the Russian government is unacceptable,” the White House press secretary said in a statement.
Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, confirmed the arrest. “We’re not talking about suspicions,” he said, adding, “He was caught red-handed.”
A swap? In some past espionage cases, Russia has detained foreigners to instigate prisoner exchanges with the West. Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison under Russia’s criminal code. Acquittals in espionage cases are virtually unheard-of.
Analysis: With Gershkovich’s arrest, President Vladimir Putin signaled to the world that he was doubling down on Russia’s wartime isolation, our Moscow bureau chief writes.
Other developments from the war in Ukraine:
Guo Wengui’s rise and fall
The Chinese billionaire-in-exile Guo Wengui is awaiting trial in the U.S. on charges of defrauding thousands of investors of more than $1 billion. A Times investigation traces his remarkable trajectory, from Beijing insider to fugitive critic of the Chinese Communist Party and ally of Trump Republicans.
Guo, who is accused of engaging in a complex scheme to bilk thousands of online followers, was arrested this month in his 9,000-square-foot New York apartment. He pleaded not guilty.
His path, fueled by bravado, ruthlessness, a keen political antenna and alleged theft, has left lingering suspicion about his allegiances.
From China to the U.S.: Guo rose from poverty to control a nationwide property empire. A crackdown on corruption in China pushed him to flee to the U.S. in 2015, where he found allies — and devoted followers — by forcefully criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. Right-wing American political figures embraced him. Guo raised millions for business ventures, promoted conspiracy theories and garnered support among the Chinese diaspora.
Downfall: It all began to unravel as allegations of fraud piled up. Victims complained and, increasingly, sued. Guo’s supporters coordinated harassment campaigns targeting his critics, including the Chinese human rights activist Teng Biao. A U.S. regulatory authority filed civil suits against three companies tied to Guo, accusing them of conducting unlawful securities offerings. Now, if convicted on fraud charges, Guo could face decades in prison.
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China sank billions into soccer with dreams of becoming a major player in the world’s most popular sport. Schools were ordered to introduce the game into their curriculums, and plans were afoot to build tens of thousands of fields.
A decade in, there’s little to show for the effort besides a handful of corruption allegations. What went wrong?
ARTS AND IDEAS
At Sayoko Sugiyama’s kitchen, she and her employees turn out about 1,000 pieces of wagashi, the traditional Japanese sweets served with green tea, every day.
They include snow-white representations of petal-covered blossoms, elaborately embossed apricot sweets and crystallized shoots from spring plants. The little pieces of art are created from ingredients like sticky rice or adzuki beans pounded into paste.
“It requires a lot of strength to mix,” Sugiyama said. “That’s why traditionally, men tend to dominate the industry.”
But things have been changing, slowly, for women in the Japanese confectionery business. The kitchens at big companies like Toraya, established in the 16th century, are usually run by men. But more and more women are opening small wagashi boutiques and experimenting with nontraditional flavors. Sugiyama has made sweets flavored with chai, hassaku (a Japanese citrus) and kuromoji (a shrubby and aromatic Japanese tree).
While wagashi are known for their beauty, to Sugiyama, it’s the taste that matters. “Even after spending the day cooking, I still want to eat them,” she said.
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