Donald Trump criminally charged: a historic first

Tags : Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels,

Former US President Donald Trump was charged with criminal charges Thursday by a New York state court, a historic first that is only the first step in a long legal road.

Donald Trump was indicted in a case of buying the silence of a porn star in 2016 and is due to appear in New York criminal justice on Tuesday, an unprecedented historical fact for a former American president, who on Thursday denounced a “ political persecution”.

The former tenant of the White House, who dreams of winning it back in 2024, is officially charged by Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg, dependent on the justice of the State of New York, for a case of payment and reimbursement, just before the November 2016 presidential election, 130,000 dollars to the actress and director of X films, Stormy Daniels.

“We expect the reading of the indictment to take place on Tuesday,” his lawyer Susan Necheles said in an email to AFP.

A spokesperson for the local prosecutor’s office had previously said it had arranged with Mr. Trump’s defense « his surrender to the Manhattan District Attorney for a arraignment hearing before a Supreme Court, » a court, according to a statement released after the vote of a grand jury – a panel of citizens with investigative powers that works in concert with prosecutors – in favor of this indictment.

This act and the lawsuits remain « under seal » for the time being.

CNN mentions around thirty charges revolving around fraud to conceal the circulation and accounting at the end of 2016 of the 130,000 dollars.

The 45th President of the United States derided in a press release a « political persecution and interference in the presidential election » of 2024.

He denounced a « witch hunt » which « will turn against Biden », the Democratic president elected in November 2020 and whom Mr. Trump has accused for more than two years of having « stolen » his victory.

‘Contrary to American values’

On his Truth Social social network, the billionaire, who has upset the political system and the balance of power in the United States since 2015, torpedoed opponents he did not name: « They are chasing me in a bogus and shameful because they know I stand with the American people and cannot get a fair trial in New York! “, his majority Democratic hometown.

One of Trump’s 2024 Republican rivals, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, called the indictment « contrary to American values » and assured that his state, where the former president resides, would not respond favorably « to an extradition request » from the State of New York.

Same unwavering support from the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, for whom “the American people will not tolerate this injustice” and an “unprecedented abuse of power” by Prosecutor Bragg.

“No one is above the law”

Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, who has worked with justice for almost six years, exclaimed on Twitter that she did not want « to spill her champagne ». His attorney Clark Brewster said, « No one is above the law. »

On the side of the Democrats, parliamentarian Adam Schiff, judged that “the indictment and arrest of a former president was unique in all of American history”.

For years, New York justice has sought to determine whether the 76-year-old former Republican president was guilty of misrepresentation, a minor offense, or breach of campaign finance laws, a criminal offense, in having paid money to Stormy Daniels, just before his presidential victory in November 2016.

What purpose ? So that it conceals a supposed extramarital relationship dating from 2006.

Mr. Trump will therefore have to “go” to the Manhattan court for the reading of the indictment by a judge, be briefly and symbolically placed “under arrest”, photographed and his fingerprints taken.

He will have to plead guilty or not guilty.

The key man in the case is called Michael Cohen: former lawyer for Donald Trump who became his enemy, he had paid Stormy Daniels in 2016 and had been reimbursed. After a prison sentence, he collaborated in the investigation from the end of 2018 and testified several times before the grand jury.

 » Scam « 

The press was buzzing with rumors in March of an indictment of the Republican billionaire, also surrounded by other legal files.

He had pulled off a political coup on March 18, saying on his Truth Social network that he would be “arrested” and appear in New York three days later.

But nothing had happened.

After having held America in suspense, all the newspapers in New York and Washington still affirmed with one voice on Wednesday that justice should not decide before April 24.

For his part, Donald Trump, who has always denied « any crime » and any connection with Stormy Daniels, had described Mr. Bragg’s investigation on Sunday as « dead » and a « scam » orchestrated by « thugs » before 2024 .

Accused by the former president of being an « animal » and a « racist », prosecutor Bragg, an African-American magistrate classified on the left, in office since January 2022, had replied to him that he had « created a false expectation media on his charge and denounced an « interference » in the investigation.

In Manhattan, where the former populist president was only able to rally a few dozen supporters last week, the area around the court and the Trump Tower were very quiet Thursday evening.

Le Soir (Belgium)

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