Threatened with criminal charges in New York in a case of purchase in 2016 of the silence of an actress of X films, the former president of the United States Donald Trump denounced Monday evening on television “a scam” and an “electoral interference” orchestrated by “thugs” before the presidential election of 2024.

The 76-year-old former tenant of the White House (2017-2021), who dreams of “reclaiming” it in November 2024, must answer before the justice of the State of New York and his attorney for Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, d $130,000 payment to porn actress and director Stormy Daniels.

While the press was buzzing with rumors of a possible indictment, Donald Trump had pulled off a coup on March 18 in the morning by claiming without any evidence on his social network Truth Social that he would be “arrested” and appear before a New York court on March 21 to be charged.

But nothing has happened since. And America is suspended again this week on this hypothetical indictment, which would be unprecedented against a former American president.

In an interview on conservatives’ favorite channel, Fox News, recorded from his Mar-a-Lago, Florida home and aired Monday night, Donald Trump called Prosecutor Bragg’s investigation a “scam.”

“I don’t know if it’s good or bad (for his candidacy in 2024, editor’s note). In my opinion, it’s a way of cheating in the elections. It’s electoral interference”, accused the billionaire Republican who has been claiming without foundation for nearly two and a half years that the November 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him by Democratic President Joe Biden.

“We have to do with dishonest people and thugs, and people, I believe, who hate our country”, denounced the businessman in this first interview for ages on Fox News, television of l New Corp media empire. of Rupert Murdoch, with whom relations deteriorated after his electoral defeat in 2020.

For several years, New York justice has sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was guilty of misrepresentation, a minor offense, or breach of campaign finance laws, a criminal offense, by having paid money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, just before her November 2016 presidential victory.

What purpose ? For her to conceal a supposed extramarital relationship ten years earlier, according to the prosecution.

Accused by the former president and Republican parliamentarians of having a “political motive”, prosecutor Bragg, an elected Democrat at the head of the Manhattan prosecution since 2022, replied last Thursday by mail that the businessman had “created a false expectation” in the media on his indictment and denounced an “interference” in the investigation.

At a campaign rally on Saturday in Texas, Mr. Trump, singled out by the Washington Post and the New York Times for sometimes flirting with the incitement to violence of his supporters, had denied “any crime” and any connection with Stormy Daniels .

He reaffirmed it Monday night on Fox News.

Saturday evening, on the plane returning from Texas, he had even claimed that the case was “bogus, the kind of bogus business on which they have absolutely nothing”.

“I believe they have already dropped the case,” he told political media Axios.

And the 45th President of the United States to drive home the point Sunday on Truth Social: “The Manhattan prosecutor’s witch hunt against me is DEAD”.

On Monday, according to court reports in New York, a grand jury — a panel of citizens with broad investigative powers that works alongside prosecutors to eventually vote on criminal indictments — reconvened in Manhattan court to hear from a witness from the Stormy Daniels case.

If this grand jury, whose confidential hearings are held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, votes for an indictment, the prosecutor Bragg will have to comply with it and make it public.

In the days that follow, former President Trump will then have to “go” to Manhattan court to be served by a judge with his indictment, be briefly placed “under arrest”, photographed and fingerprinted. raised.

He will then have to plead guilty or not guilty.

In principle, the next grand jury meeting will take place on Wednesday.

03/28/2023 10:53:51 –         New York (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP