Donald Trump has been in his New York skyscraper since Monday evening, on the eve of being formally charged with a criminal charge in a case of payment to a porn star in 2016, an unprecedented fact for a former American president.

The event is all the more historic as the 76-year-old Republican billionaire rejoined the race for the Republican nomination to win back the White House in November 2024.

Donald Trump swears he is “innocent” and wrote in all caps on his social network Truth Social that he was traveling to New York to “make America great again” and that he was the victim of a “hunting to witches when (his) great country is sinking into hell”.

Filmed by televisions from helicopters, his Boeing 757 bearing his name landed around 7:25 p.m. GMT at LaGuardia Airport and his car convoy headed for the mythical 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

There, stands the Trump Tower where the businessman will stay 36 hours, under high security, even if only a handful of pro and anti-Trump demonstrators parade there.

An opponent has been walking around since Friday with two signs: “Lock him up and… Throw away the key”.

Conversely, Vito Dichiara, a sympathizer, explains to AFP that he is “here to support Donald Trump, the former and future president of the United States”.

“The Democratic Party is just meddling in the election, Donald Trump won in 2020 but the Democrats stole the election,” the 71-year-old retiree thinks.

Another man, armed with a card and a banner, calls for “the arrest of Biden” and agonizes with insults.

In fact, Donald Trump never admitted his defeat in the last presidential election in November 2020 and has since accused Joe Biden of having “stolen” the victory.

While the Republican landed in New York, the Democratic president was in a factory in Minnesota (north), to boast of his economic record and promise workers better days. Joe Biden has so far refused to comment on the legal proceedings, instead playing the contrast effect against the one he could face again in 2024.

But before hoping to find the White House, Donald Trump is preparing for the legal “battle” of New York, according to one of his lawyers.

The populist former head of state, who turned the political system upside down in the United States, was criminally charged on March 30 by Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg. After five years of investigation by the justice of the State of New York.

This New York native must be served with criminal charges from 2:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday: they have not been made public but are said to be 30 in number.

The summons, with an unprecedented ritual for a former head of state, should see Mr. Trump decline his name, age, profession, submit to a fingerprinting and be photographed, like all warned.

According to his lawyer Joe Tacopina, he will not be handcuffed but may have to walk through court halls in the presence of media.

Before the judge, “the president will plead not guilty” because “there is no criminal offense” according to his defense. Donald Trump should then be released, possibly under conditions, pending the organization of his trial.

While the courthouse area in lower Manhattan is placed under tight security and the press will spend the night hoping to enter it Tuesday noon, New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer, put warns potential “troublemakers” by urging them to “control” themselves.

The affair that torments Donald Trump dates back to October 2016, just before his surprise election as head of the United States

His personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has since turned against him, had at the time paid 130,000 dollars to the actress of pornographic films Stormy Daniels to buy her silence. The porn star claims she had sex with Donald Trump, which he denies.

The tycoon admitted to having reimbursed Michael Cohen, but assures that the transaction was not illegal.

If the agreement made with Stormy Daniels was indeed authorized, it could however correspond to a campaign expense. However, the sum does not appear in the candidate’s 2016 accounts and, on the contrary, was listed as “legal fees” in the documents of his company, the Trump Organization.

In addition to this investigation in New York, federal justice is examining its role in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and its management of the presidential archives after his departure from the White House, while a prosecutor in Georgia s is also interested in pressure exerted on electoral officials to challenge his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

04/04/2023 00:02:31 –         New York (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP