Donald Trump arrives at New York court to face criminal charges


Donald Trump has arrived at a Manhattan courthouse to be formally charged in connection with payments made to buy the silence of a porn actress ahead of his 2016 campaign for the White House.

The arraignment of Trump marks the first criminal case against a former or sitting US president and will fire the starting gun on a courtroom drama that is likely to grip a deeply divided America.

He pumped his first before departing in a motorcade from Trump Tower at just after 1pm to make the roughly six mile journey to the courthouse, which he entered without making any remarks.

Trump posted on his Truth Social profile as the procession snaked down the The Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive. He wrote: “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse. Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”

The 76-year-old, who is now under arrest, will be processed like other defendants, and have his fingerprints taken behind closed doors. Trump does not expect to be handcuffed, his lawyer Joe Tacopina told US television networks last week.

A proceeding known as an arraignment, which usually takes no more than a half-hour, will follow, when the court will ascertain whether Trump and his legal team have read and had a chance to review the full indictment.

He will then plead not guilty to the charges, his lawyers said. Trump is expected to return to Mar-a-Lago later on Tuesday, from where he will deliver a speech.

Details of the indictment have been kept under seal since they were filed on Thursday. But lawyers for Trump said they expected the charges to relate to the $130,000 allegedly paid to Stormy Daniels, a porn actress, via attorney Michael Cohen to cover up an affair she claimed to have had with Trump years earlier.

The transactions were allegedly recorded as legal fees, and prosecutors will attempt to show that they were in fact made to protect Trump’s campaign, according to people familiar with the case, and therefore violated federal campaign finance law.

Tacopina said Trump’s defence team would move quickly to challenge the legitimacy of the indictment by filing motions to dismiss the case soon after the arraignment.

Large swaths of the downtown area were cordoned off in anticipation of protests. Just after 9am, pro- and anti-Trump partisans scuffled in a small park across from the courthouse during a stand-off that was more performative than violent.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican, addresses the crowd outside the courthouse in New York © Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

Other prominent supporters of the former president, including Republican House member Marjorie Taylor Greene, travelled to the city to back Trump, who has repeatedly labelled the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation a “political witch hunt”.

Ahead of the hearing, Greene stood on a park bench just across from the courthouse and addressed a raucous crowd through a bullhorn, warning of a communist takeover of the US.

On the eve of his arraignment, Trump hired Todd Blanche, a top defence lawyer specialising in white-collar criminal investigations, according to Politico, to beef up the legal team fighting the charges. Blanche previously defended Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign chief, and in 2019 secured the dismissal of New York state charges against him. Manafort had been previously convicted on federal charges.

Additional reporting by Joshua Chaffin in New York

Articles You May Like

Focus turns to primary, munis outperform UST
Adobe chief warns competition watchdogs against stifling innovation
EU needs further efforts to implement crypto regulations: Btc. x CEO
Alabama governor signs anti-ESG legislation
The Number One Fear For Investors: A Lack Of Capital