America is suspended on Monday on the possible criminal indictment, even symbolic arrest, in New York of former President Donald Trump for a case of payment in 2016 to an actress of pornographic films with whom he allegedly had an affair, a “hunting to witches” according to the billionaire, who calls for demonstrations.
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The thunderclap, more than a year and a half before the 2024 presidential election, sounded on Saturday when the former White House tenant said on his Truth Social platform that he would be “arrested” on Tuesday.
For what? Citing “leaks” from New York state justice, Donald Trump expects to be charged with criminal charges after a years-long investigation by Manhattan district attorneys, led by them for a an magistrate Alvin Bragg.
Never has an American head of state, in office or having left the White House, been indicted.
The 45th American president, defeated by Joe Biden in November 2020 and who dreams of being re-elected in November 2024, has called on his supporters to “protest”, and a first “peaceful” rally of young Trumpists is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the south of the New York island of Manhattan.
Faced with fears of tension or even violence in this Democratic city – but where the native Donald Trump has support – the municipal police (NYPD) replied to AFP that their “state of preparation was a constant at all times and in all eventualities”, and that she was “coordinating” with the federal police (FBI) and the Manhattan prosecutor’s office.
Mr. Trump, a 76-year-old businessman who has permanently changed the balance of power in the United States, again on Monday attacked the “corrupt” services of Prosecutor Bragg, an African-American magistrate, Democrat and elected (like all judges and prosecutors).
A lawyer for the billionaire, Susan Necheles, had denounced Saturday to AFP “political prosecution”.
The case of porn actress Stormy Daniels is legally complex.
New York justice is seeking to determine whether Trump is guilty of misrepresentation – an offense – or breach of campaign finance laws – a criminal offense – by having paid $ 130,000 to this woman, whose real name Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 election.
What purpose? For her to conceal a supposed extramarital relationship, according to the prosecution.
“There is no crime,” Donald Trump defended himself again on Monday, in capital letters on Truth Social.
The investigation accelerated last week.
Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for Trump who made the payment in 2016 and who has since become his enemy, as well as the actress testified before a grand jury, a panel of American citizens endowed with broad investigative powers and charged with ratifying an update. in examination.
Donald Trump was also invited to speak before this grand jury, according to the American press. Another of his lawyers had replied that he would “surrender” willingly to a summons from the New York justice.
“Prosecutors almost never invite the target of the investigation to testify before the grand jury unless they intend to indict him”, had deciphered for AFP the professor of law and former prosecutor , Bennett Gershman.
According to his colleague Renato Mariotti, even if the billionaire is charged, it is likely that Donald Trump, who lives in Palm Beach, Florida, will voluntarily go to court in Manhattan.
He would very symbolically be placed there for a few moments under arrest, photographed, and his fingerprints would be taken, and could possibly be handcuffed for a few minutes.
But to avoid making it a “show,” the real estate mogul “would probably not come to (Manhattan) court through the front door,” in order to escape the cameras and for security reasons, according to Robert McDonald, professor of criminal law and former member of the Secret Service, the agency that protects American dignitaries.
The main fear of the authorities would be a repeat of the chaos of the storming of the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021, when a Donald Trump defeated at the polls in November 2020 called on his supporters to challenge the results.
On Sunday, a number of Republican caciques came to the defense of Trump, in particular his former Vice-President Mike Pence, who has nevertheless broken with him since 2021, and could face him for the Republican nomination for the presidential election of 2024.
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