WASHINGTON (AP) — In the first criminal case against the former president, Donald Trump has been charged with charges related to payments made during a 2016 campaign to silence allegations of extramarital sex.
New York prosecutors have investigated money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep women from publicizing allegations that they had sex with him.
Trump, who is running for the White House again in 2024, called the Manhattan grand jury’s decision to indict him “political persecution and election interference at the highest level.”
Trump calls it a witch hunt
Minutes after the indictment was released on Thursday, Trump issued a lengthy statement calling it the next step in a campaign from the Left to “destroy the Make America Great Again” movement.
“Democrats lied, cheated and stole in their ‘get Trump’ obsession, but they did the unthinkable now. Totally guilty of blatant election sabotage.” We have prosecuted a person who is innocent,” Trump said in a statement.
Trump accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of “doing his dirty work by ignoring notable murders, robberies and assaults.”
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said the former president was “a victim of a corrupt and distorted version of America’s justice system and history. He will be proven.”
Many Republicans line up behind Trump
Republicans, from the former president’s son to a Republican senator, lashed out at the indictment.
Former Vice President Mike Pence called it “anger” in an interview with CNN. “For millions of Americans, it looks like nothing more than a political prosecution,” Pence said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowed that “the House will explain Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power.”
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the conservative chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a one-word response: “No way.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Green of Georgia, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress, said without citing evidence that Trump was innocent and that “the only one standing in the way of these modern-day tyrants” He said that he was a person from
The former president’s son, Eric Trump, said, “This is third world prosecutorial misconduct.” In a text to the Associated Press, he called the indictment opportunistically targeting a political opponent in an election year.
“This is what makes Mao Zedong, Stalin and Pol Pot blush.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump aide, said the indictment was “one of the most irresponsible decisions by a prosecutor in American history.”
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as Trump’s press secretary at the White House, said Bragg should resign.
Democrats cite the rule of law
Democrats, meanwhile, said that if Trump broke the law, he should be prosecuted like any other American. California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff said in a tweet: But so are the illegal activities Trump is involved in. ”
Schiff said: Especially when they do. Otherwise, it cannot be called a democracy. ”
Democratic New York Rep. Dan Goldman, who served as lead counsel in Trump’s first impeachment trial, said in a statement that “no one is above the law.”
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a former federal prosecutor, said the judicial system has a duty to pursue wherever the facts and law lead. “Former President Trump has the same rights as a criminal defendant and the justice system will presume him innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Rep. Jim Cliburn of South Carolina quoted Thomas Paine, who wrote in Common Sense in 1776, “In America the law is king.”
Trump’s Potential Election Rival Matters
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is considering running for the Republican presidential nomination, said on Twitter that the indictment was political.
“Weaponizing the legal system to advance the political agenda undermines the rule of law,” he added. “It’s un-American.”
2024 Republican candidate and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson called it “a dark day for America.” Hutchinson said it was important that Trump be presumed innocent while the case was ongoing.
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, said on Twitter that Bragg’s attempt to indict Trump “for pure political gain” was “incredible.” said it is.
Another potential Trump rival, biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy, said the indictment could undermine public confidence in the electoral and judicial systems.
Mike Pompeo, who worked for the Trump administration, sent a fundraising email to potential supporters pointing to the indictment.
Trump’s lawyer vows to fight
Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, told Fox News that he had spoken to Trump and that he was “ready to fight.”
He said details of Tuesday’s arraignment were “unconfirmed.”
Tacopina said he first learned about the charges from The New York Times.
Tacopina was asked about the “purp walk” that the former president might face on camera when he is indicted.
Will Trump be handed over?
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office said it was not immediately clear when Trump would be arraigned.
“Tonight, we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorneys and arranged to turn him over to the Manhattan DA office for arraignment on the Supreme Court indictment. Guidance will be provided,” the statement said.
In a tweet, DeSantis said Florida would not support Trump’s extradition request.
Defendants who have been notified of an indictment or impending arrest often arrange to appear. Fulfilling a criminal complaint in New York means being fingerprinted and photographed, answering basic questions such as your name and date of birth, and being arraigned. Overall, defendants are usually detained for at least several hours.
But there is no strategy for booking ex-presidents.
Experts say the former president is unlikely to be handcuffed across the sidewalk or through the crowded court halls.
Former Trump attorney who testified in the case
Former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges, including campaign finance violations, for arranging payments to Stormy Daniels and another woman, Karen McDougall, and lying to Congress. Cohen became a key witness to testify before a Manhattan grand jury earlier this month.
Cohen said Thursday he stands by his testimony and the evidence he provided.
“Today’s indictment is not the end of this chapter, but rather the beginning. Now that the charges have been filed, it is better for the case to let the indictments themselves speak,” Cohen said in a statement.
Cohen “made a brave decision to speak truth to power and accept the consequences,” his attorney Lanny J. Davis said in a statement, referring to 2018. I am proud to have been his lawyer and his friend throughout this long journey on the road to justice and accountability. ”
STORMY DANIELS POPS BUBBLY
The porn star at the center of the case took to Twitter to thank her supporters.
“I’m getting so many messages that I can’t reply… Also, I don’t want to spill champagne,” Stormy Daniels tweeted.
She didn’t waste an opportunity to sell her merchandise.
Orders for #TeamStormy goods and autographs are pouring in! I appreciate that too, but please understand that shipping will take a few extra days,” she said.
Trump will use indictments to raise cash
Like Stormy Daniels, Trump didn’t miss the moment and tried to make money.
Shortly after news outlets began covering the indictment, the Trump campaign launched a fundraiser asking for donations ahead of Friday’s deadline when first-quarter numbers are released. He said Democrats would wait and see if “a witch hunt from Manhattan weakened our movement.”
___ Trump supporters go wild online
News of the indictment lit up message boards, websites and social media platforms popular with Trump supporters. Some dismissed it as a hoax, while others pointed to the indictment just before Holy Week began, comparing Trump to the persecuted Christ.
Interspersed among the comments were calls to Trump supporters to stand up in protest.
Still others speculated that Trump’s indictments would revitalize Republicans ahead of the 2024 election and serve as a precedent to enable future indictments of Democrats.
Democrats want peace
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has publicly pleaded for peace, saying the former president is subject to the same laws as all Americans.
“He will be able to use the legal system and juries, not politics, to determine his fate according to the facts and the law,” Schumer said. We encourage both and our supporters that the process proceeds peacefully and lawfully.”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the former president to keep the peace.
“No one is above the law and everyone has the right to a trial to prove their innocence. Hopefully the former president will peacefully respect the system that gives him that right.” I hope so,” Pelosi said in a statement.
New York Rep. Dan Goldman said elected officials on both sides should “make it clear that there is no room for political violence or interference.”
Crowd Forms Outside Trump’s Florida Country Club
Hours after news of the indictment broke, Trump supporters and opponents gathered outside Mar-a-Lago’s mansion.
Kathy Clarke, a 75-year-old former police officer from suburban Palm Beach County, stood on the road holding a banner that said, “Trump won.” She called Michael Cohen a liar and said her charges were a farce.
“Look at Bill Clinton and his daughters in the White House. I don’t care about Trump’s private life — it’s between him, his wife, and God.
Across the street, Victoria Doyle, a Palm Beach County attorney, stood holding a sign that read, “He Lost.”
“I celebrate our justice system by holding someone accountable for crimes,” Doyle said. He has been harassing, manipulating people, and hiring countless lawyers to intimidate people.”
https://www.mcall.com/2023/03/30/trump-indictment-live-updates-latest-news-developments/ Trump Indictment Live Update: Breaking News, Developments