Former US President Donald Trump has been indicted on criminal charges arising from an alleged hush money payment to an adult film actress.
A grand jury in New York voted to indict Trump over possible offences related to a US$130,000 (€119,234) payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
It was allegedly made in exchange for Daniels' silence about an alleged sexual encounter she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.
He is the first former US president to face criminal charges in court, even as he makes a bid to retake the White House in 2024.
Trump, a Republican, said he was "completely innocent" and called the indictment "political persecution", with his lawyers saying they will "vigorously fight" it.
The Manhattan District Attorney's investigation centred on accusations of money paid to Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, whom Trump allegedly feared would go public with claims they had extramarital sexual encounters with him.
Trump (76) has denied having affairs with either woman.
His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said he co-ordinated with Trump on the payments to Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, and also to McDougal.
Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in 2018 related to the payments and served more than a year in prison.
Federal prosecutors said Cohen acted at Trump's direction.
Trump said: "The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to 'Get Trump,' but now they've done the unthinkable - indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant election interference".
"Never before in our nation's history has this been done".
He added: "I believe this witch-hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden".
Trump was expected to surrender to authorities next week.
He has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly attacked the investigation by District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
His office has spent nearly five years investigating Trump and the grand jury has been hearing its evidence since January.
According to Mr Bragg's spokesperson, prosecutors and Trump's legal team are now negotiating a surrender date when the former leader would have to go to the District Attorney's Office in New York to be fingerprinted and photographed before an initial court appearance.
Other ongoing cases Trump faces include a Georgia election interference probe and two federal investigations into his role in the January 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol.
Reporting by: IRN