Former President Donald Trump reportedly plans to travel from Florida to New York next week to be arraigned sometime Tuesday morning before Judge Juan Merchan on charges related to his 2016 hush money scandal involving Stormy Daniels.
“Mr. Trump intends to travel to New York on Monday and stay the night at Trump Tower. … He has no plans to hold a news conference or address the public while he is in New York,” The New York Times reported Friday, citing anonymous sources.
Security will reportedly be provided by the Secret Service.
“The Secret Service will ensure that Trump is safely brought in. The Secret Service is working with the New York Police Department, FBI, New York State court officers and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to finalize the security and logistics of Trump’s arraignment and booking,” according to Fox News.
Once in the courthouse, Trump will be arraigned on over 30 charges reportedly related to document fraud.
“It’s the veritable beginning of the storm,” says former federal prosecutor, Scott Fredericksen, describing the process prosecutors are going through as they prepare for former President Donald Trump’s arraignment following his indictment by a New York grand jury. pic.twitter.com/OcEcAvl8Jj
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 30, 2023
As previously noted, the case pertains to the whole Stormy Daniels affair. Specifically, it’s about how Trump allegedly had his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, pay Daniels $130,000 to remain quiet about their affair.
“The alleged scheme first came to light years ago, when Trump was still in office, but the investigation has gained new momentum in recent months, with the Manhattan district attorney’s office convening a grand jury to examine the matter,” CBS News reported last month.
The reporting about a then-potential indictment came only days after Daniels herself sat with investigators from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.
“Stormy responded to questions and has agreed to make herself available as a witness, or for further inquiry if needed,” her attorney, Clark Brewster, wrote on Twitter following the deposition.
Earlier last month meanwhile, Cohen testified to a grand jury twice. He was highly relevant to the case because, according to ABC News, Bragg was at the time “mulling whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records, after the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen for the payment then logged the reimbursement as a legal expense.”
Returning to the present, one of the former president’s lawyers said Friday that Trump will not accept a plea deal and intends to take his case to trial.
“President Trump will not take a plea deal in this case. It’s not going to happen. There’s no crime,” lawyer Joe Tacopina told NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie.
Former President Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina tells @SavannahGuthrie that he will not take a plea deal if the case goes to trial. pic.twitter.com/eGnISUJV0S
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 31, 2023
He also admitted that neither he nor Trump are aware of what exact charges the former president will face.
“We do know it centers around a legal, very common confidentiality agreement that was signed years and years ago with Stormy Daniels, with her attorneys and Michael Cohen. So it’s nothing more than that, which is really what makes this shocking,” he said.
Trump, for his part, responded to the indictment by releasing a lengthy statement through Truth Social, his social media network.
“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats – the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country – have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement,” the statement reads.
“You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this. The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable – indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference,” it continues.
Read the full statement below:
Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America pic.twitter.com/d9NlWQqMbQ
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) March 30, 2023
Going forward, however, he may possibly have no other choice but to remain silent. Former Department of Justice prosecutor Duncan Levin explained to Insider that Judge Merchan is likely to institute a gag order.
“I think it’s not only a possibility, but it’s extremely likely that there will be a gag order in the case. Gag orders are very common in criminal cases, particularly in cases where there is an enormous amount of pretrial publicity like this one,” he said.
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