Trump faces day in court in historic US first

Donald Trump and his son Eric Trump arrive at Trump Tower, after former President Trump's indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, US April 3, 2023. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Donald Trump, the former president and leading candidate for the Republican nomination in 2024, is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. He will be formally charged, fingerprinted, and photographed in a pivotal event preceding the 2020 presidential election.

Trump was indicted in a case involving a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, making him the first sitting or former president to face criminal charges. He has asserted his innocence and will plead not guilty.

Trump will turn himself in on Tuesday amid tight security, as both pro- and anti-Trump demonstrations are anticipated. Trump has angered liberals and some global allies but is admired by many white blue-collar, and conservative Christian voters.

"We must take back our Country and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" Trump tweeted on his True Social profile shortly after his Monday arrival in New York from Florida, imploring fans to donate to his campaign.

Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT) is the scheduled time for Trump's arraignment, during which he will be in court to hear charges and enter a plea.

Trump's attorneys objected to photography, videography, and radio coverage, arguing that it would "exacerbate an already almost circus-like atmosphere around this case", diminishing its dignity and decorum.

Judge Juan Merchan decided late on Monday that five photographers will be permitted to shoot photographs for several minutes before the arraignment begins, with cameras allowed in the hallways of the building.

The Democratic district attorney who conducted the investigation, Alvin Bragg, will hold a press conference in the afternoon.

According to his staff, Trump will return to Florida and deliver remarks from Mar-a-Lago at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday (00:15 GMT on Wednesday).

On Tuesday, the particular counts in the indictment issued by a grand jury will be made public. The charges have been viewed as politically motivated by Trump and his allies.

Monday evening, Yahoo News reported that Trump would face 34 felony counts for falsifying business documents. Yahoo said, citing a person knowledgeable of Tuesday's court proceedings, that none of the allegations against Trump as misdemeanours.

Protests and Popularity

Police began installing barricades over the weekend near Trump Tower - where Trump arrived on Monday after flying in from Florida - and the Manhattan Criminal Court building, with rallies planned on Tuesday at both locations.

The mayor of the city warned potential agitators to behave.

"Our message is straightforward: Exercise self-control. New York City is not a playground for your misplaced rage; it is our home, "Eric Adams said.

President Joseph Biden, a Democrat widely anticipated to seek re-election and could face a rematch with Donald Trump, responded, "No, I have faith in the New York Police Department."

The matter has divided opinion in New York, where Trump's name is splashed on business-related buildings.

"It is a beautiful day. I hope everything goes smoothly and he is eventually found guilty, "Robert Hoatson, 71, of New Jersey, said outside Trump Tower on Monday.

Susan Miller, a Trump supporter leaning against the metal barriers on 5th Avenue just south of Trump Tower on Monday evening, said she hoped the support display would "give him a little strength when he goes down... to battle."

"He is as trustworthy as the sun," she remarked, adding that she would return on Tuesday.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Monday, Trump's lead over opponents in the Republican Party's presidential nominating campaign has grown since news leaked that he may face criminal charges.

48% of self-identified Republicans desire Trump as their party's presidential nominee, up from 44% in a March 14-20 survey. The Florida governor in second place, Ron Desantis saw his support drop from 30% to approximately 19%.

Multiple Legal Woes

The Manhattan grand jury that accused Trump heard testimony regarding a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels near the end of the 2016 presidential campaign for months this year.

Daniels has claimed she was paid to be silent about a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump at a hotel in Lake Tahoe. Trump denies having a relationship with her in this capacity.

Legally, neither an indictment nor a conviction prevents Trump from running for president.

According to two persons who knew the situation, Trump bolstered his legal team by hiring Todd Blanco, a notable white-collar criminal defence attorney and former federal prosecutor.

The Manhattan inquiry is just one of Trump's many legal challenges.

Trump is now the subject of a second criminal investigation into whether he unlawfully attempted to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia and two studies by a special counsel, one of which concerns his handling of confidential documents after leaving office.

According to legal experts, any potential trial in the Manhattan case is at least a year away, meaning it could take place during or after the presidential election.

Trump's campaign raised $7 million in the three days following the announcement of the indictment last Thursday, according to senior adviser Jason Miller, who also delivered the latest in a series of fundraising letters that criticized the media's coverage of the indictment.

2024 Ramifications

The case's impact on the Republicans' selection of a candidate for the November 2024 presidential election and the choice made by all Americans might have far-reaching consequences in the most powerful nation on earth and beyond.

In recent days, prominent possible competitors for the candidacy, such as Desantis and his former vice president Mike Pence, have officially backed Trump.

Trump frequently clashed with allies on trade and defence while he was president from 2017 to 2021, and his return to the White House is likely to erode U.S. support for Ukraine.

In 2018, Trump first denied knowing anything about Daniels' payment in the Manhattan case.

Later, he admitted reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a "simple private transaction."

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance law violations for his part in organizing the payments to Daniels and McDougal and was sentenced to three years in jail. According to his testimony, Trump instructed him to make the payments.

On March 13, Cohen testified before the Manhattan grand jury investigating Trump.

Following Trump's indictment, he told Reuters, "I decided that I was not going to allow history to remember me as the villain to his story."

Publish : 2023-04-04 11:38:00

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