Police barriers in front of Trump Tower and the Manhattan Courthouse; more law enforcement and journalists than pro-Trump demonstrators: New York is still awaiting the possible historic criminal indictment of the former President of the United States.

Mr. Trump himself assured that he would be arrested on Tuesday in the case of bribes paid to a pornographic actress. But the day ended with no signs of charges or arrests.

Some US media have speculated that a grand jury – a citizens’ panel with broad investigative powers – might vote for an indictment on Wednesday, but that it may take until next week for the prosecutor to Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, announces an indictment. Mr. Trump would then appear before a judge after being symbolically placed under arrest for a few minutes.

Mr. Bragg has not confirmed any plans publicly, and grand juries operate in secret to avoid perjury or tampering with witnesses before trials, making it virtually impossible to track their proceedings.

In a latest statement from Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign team on Tuesday, a photo shows two New York Police (NYPD) handlers quietly unloading a metal barrier from a truck.

With a message meant to dramatize and solemnize the moment: “Barricades are being set up around Manhattan Criminal Court, as our nation awaits an announcement on whether President Donald J. Trump will be CHARGED despite ‘he has committed NO OFFENSE’.

The 45th President of the United States (2017-2021) invites his constituents to meet “on November 5, 2024 when we, the people, will return to the White House and make America great”.

In the meantime, he must answer in court for a case of payment of 130,000 dollars, just before his presidential victory in November 2016, to the actress of pornographic films Stormy Daniels with whom he would have had an affair.

Trump hit hard on Saturday by saying on his Truth Social network that he would be formally and symbolically charged and “arrested” on Tuesday.

For an American president, whether in office or having left the White House, this would be unprecedented.

Donald Trump would then be photographed, his fingerprints taken and he could even be briefly handcuffed, according to American criminal procedure.

However, the New York judicial authorities want to avoid such a spectacle and the media and political mess that would follow.

The billionaire denounced a “witch hunt” led by the Democrats, but his calls to “protest” failed.

Only about 40 supporters gathered outside his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Tuesday, and a few dozen more in the cold New York on Monday outside the courthouse and the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue.

However, fearing clashes in a city with a violent history, an NYPD spokesperson warned in an email that “the presence of uniformed police officers will increase in the five boroughs of the megacity”, even if it there is “currently no credible threat in New York”.

In the absence of anger in the street, the Trumpists beat the recall on social networks.

In an attempt to block the legal challenge to their hero, the group “The Donald” on the Reddit platform wants to trigger a “national strike” or even a “civil war 2.0”.

The case of pornographic actress Stormy Daniels is legally complex.

New York justice is seeking to determine whether Mr. Trump is guilty of misrepresentation, an offense, or breach of campaign finance laws, a criminal offense, by having paid money to this woman, her real name Stephanie Clifford, just before the 2016 presidential election, which the Republican had won.

What purpose ?

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

The investigation, which has lasted for years, accelerated last week.

Michael Cohen, a former attorney and now Trump nemesis who paid off Stormy Daniels in 2016, testified before the grand jury. The actress has also cooperated with prosecutors and this same panel.

Donald Trump had also been invited to speak before this grand jury, according to the press, and one of his lawyers had assured that he would “surrender” willingly to a court summons.

The main fear of the authorities is a repeat of the violence of the assault on the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021, when Donald Trump, defeated at the polls in November 2020, called on his supporters to challenge the results.

He still claims, baselessly, that the victory was “stolen” from him by President Joe Biden.


03/22/2023 05:20:09 –         New York (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP