Trump Arrives New York Over Hush Money Indictment

  • Ready for not guilty plea

Immediate past American President, Donald Trump is set to appear in a Manhattan courtroom today, Tuesday in an extraordinary scene that marks the first time in American history a former US president will be facing criminal charges.

Trump, the 45th president of the United States and the leading contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, will enter the lower Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday as a defendant, surrounded by Secret Service agents.

Upon his arrival, Trump will be arraigned, fingerprinted and possibly photographed. Though defendants charged with felonies are typically handcuffed, one of Trump’s lawyers has indicated that he does not expect that to occur.

The specific crimes Trump has been charged with remain under seal, days after a Manhattan grand jury indicted him for his role in paying hush money to an adult film star.

The former president is expected to enter a plea of not guilty. Following the unprecedented proceedings, Trump plans to return to Mar-A-Lago, his Florida estate where the campaign has scheduled a prime-time news conference.

Trump throws red Maga hats to supporters

In social media posts, Trump has cast himself as a “completely innocent person” and denounced the indictment as part of a broader conspiracy designed by Democrats to damage his political prospects. However, prosecutors insist the case against Trump has nothing to do with politics.

For weeks, a grand jury heard evidence related to a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels who says she had an extra-marital affair with Trump in 2006, which the former president has denied.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, made the payment to Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign to keep her from going public about the alleged encounter. He was later reimbursed by Trump, by then the president.

The payments to Cohen were recorded by the Trump Organization as legal expenses. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal tax evasion and campaign-finance violation charges.

Since news of the indictment, Trump has escalated his attacks on the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg. He has also assailed the judge in the case, Juan Merchan, an acting New York supreme court justice, who, Trump claimed, “hates me”.

Merchan presided over a criminal trial last year that resulted in conviction of Allen Weisselberg, the former Chief Financial Officer for the Trump Organization, as well as the criminal fraud case involving Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

Security is tight ahead of Trump’s return to New York, where he built his brand as a real estate mogul and launched his bid for the presidency in 2016, riding a golden escalator into the atrium of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

Arriving in the city on a private jet emblazoned with his name, the former president was expected to spend the night at Trump Tower on Monday, before surrendering to New York authorities on Tuesday for a booking, followed by his arraignment, likely that afternoon.

With the violence of the January 6 Capitol attack still fresh, barricades have been erected around Trump Tower and the Manhattan criminal court building in downtown ahead of expected demonstrations. Allies of the president have urged supporters to remain “peaceful,” despite a warning from Trump that an indictment against him could result in “potential death and destruction”.

The case is just one of the many legal challenges Trump is facing as he mounts a third run for president. A prosecutor in Georgia is investigating Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat in the state.

At the same time, the US Justice Department is investigating Trump’s attempts to cling to power in 2020 that culminated in the deadly assault on the US capitol by his supporters as well as his retention of classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021.

Nevertheless, the indictment has appeared to boost his support among Republicans, which had softened since he left office. Recent polling shows Trump widening his lead over the notional Republican field of candidates, with his challengers and potential rivals rallying to his side. The campaign has also touted record fundraising.

Yet several surveys, all taken in advance of the charges being made public, indicate that a majority of Americans agree with the grand jury’s decision and support the indictment.

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