As the first former US president to face criminal charges, Donald Trump will also be the first to be fingerprinted, taken for a mugshot and brought before a judge.
If the case proceeds as expected, he will be the first US president to sit before a jury.
Already the shockwaves are spreading across the political landscape.
Some aspects are predictable - the former president, his lawyers and his children are denouncing the yet-to-be-detailed charges as political persecution.
They see it as an attempt to disrupt the campaign of a frontrunner for the presidency in 2024.
At Mr Trump's political rally in Texas last Saturday, the former president was already fixated on an arrest that seemed to be looming.
"This is really prosecutorial misconduct," Mr Trump said of the New York City district attorney's inquiry. "The innocence of people makes no difference to these radical left maniacs."
As the news broke, other members of the Republican Party closed ranks around their former president.
Several senior members of the House of Representatives called the indictment "outrageous" and pledged a thorough congressional investigation.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said the New York district attorney had "irreparably damaged" the nation in an attempt to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.
Several of Mr Trump's potential rivals for the Republic nomination condemned the charges.
"Prosecuting serious crimes keeps Americans safe, but political prosecutions put the American legal system at risk of being viewed as a tool for abuse," former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, viewed as Mr Trump's most formidable potential opponent, was equally strident in a Twitter post, calling the indictment "un-American".
"The weaponisation of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head," he wrote.
He added that Florida would not assist in an extradition of Mr Trump to New York to face the charges.
Mr Trump's lawyers have previously said he would go to the courthouse willingly - something expected to happen early next week.
At some point, however, Mr Trump's rivals will have to turn on him - and a lower-profile potential candidate may have given a hint of the strategy in his Thursday evening press release.
"It is a dark day for America when a former president is indicted on criminal charges," former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, noticeably not calling the indictment unjust.
Donald Trump has surged in Republican approval polls recently, but there is still sentiment that his drama - the political storm clouds that always seem to follow him - is a liability that will make him a less appealing presidential candidate.
For that line of attack, this indictment could become Exhibit A, noted by his Republican opponents more with sadness than with glee.
For its part, the Trump campaign is leaning into the controversy, using the front-page headlines and breaking news bulletins to drum up new donations from supporters.
"Please make a contribution - of truly any amount - to defend our movement from the never-ending witch hunts and WIN the WHITE HOUSE in 2024," read a campaign email that included Mr Trump's press release on the indictment. It promised that the indictment would "backfire" on President Joe Biden and the Democrats.
At least so far, the White House has been keeping a studious silence on the matter - similar to the strategy it employed during Mr Trump's 2021 Senate impeachment trial after the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.
Their view, perhaps, aligns with the old Napoleon quote about not interrupting an enemy when they're making a mistake.
Other Democrats, however, have been less reticent.
"The bedrock of our legal system is the principle that justice applies to everyone equally," Democratic Senator Cory Booker said in a statement. "No-one is above the law."
The Democratic National Committee's press secretary tried to link Mr Trump and his legal troubles to the former president's "Make America Great Again" movement and the Republican Party as a whole.
Democrats, and many political analysts, attribute the party's better-than-expected performance in last year's mid-term elections to Republican candidates being too closely associated with a former president who, while still loved by many Republicans, is disliked by a majority of Americans.
Expect Democrats to once again employ a similar line of attack.
Mr Trump's current legal drama may reach a crescendo and conclude well before a vote is cast in 2024. The political fallout could ultimately depend on the course it tracks - and whether this case is joined by others.
For the moment, however, the partisan lines on Mr Trump's indictment are clearly drawn - as they have been on almost every major issue of national importance in America today.