(New York) Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to falsifying accounting records in a New York court on Tuesday, in a historic criminal hearing that stirred passions in America and paved the way for a trial in less than a year. .
Left free without judicial control, the 76-year-old former president will try everything to avoid the test of a trial in January 2024, only a few months before the presidential election in which he is a candidate.
The Republican, the first American president to suffer such a fate, is targeted by 34 counts. He is accused of having “orchestrated” a series of payments to cover up three embarrassing cases before the 2016 election.
Donald Trump has “stopped lying”, criticized New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg, denouncing the “serious criminal conduct” of the New York billionaire. “The law is the same for everyone,” he insisted at a press conference.
A lawyer for Donald Trump, Todd Blanche, has promised to fight a “sad” “canned” indictment. According to him, Donald Trump is “frustrated”, “upset”, but “determined”.
In the crowded courtroom of the court, the former tenant of the White House showed himself with a closed face, a stern look.
He spent about two hours in the Manhattan courthouse.
The 70-year-old then flew his personal plane from New York to Florida, where he will give a press conference from his Mar-a-Lago residence at 8:15 p.m. EST Wednesday. ), in front of his followers and his tens of millions of voters.
Surrounded by bodyguards, the ex-tenant of the White House who aims to return there in 2024, arrived and left the courthouse in a convoy under very high security, flown over by American media helicopters.
Outside the courthouse, handfuls of pro- and anti-Trump activists, sometimes colorful, were separated from the first invectives – the authorities being concerned that this tense situation, already at the heart of exceptional media coverage, does not escalate .
His detractors unfurled a huge “Trump lies all the time” banner.
The billionaire claims his innocence and claims to be the victim of a “witch hunt” orchestrated by the Democrats of President Joe Biden, who allegedly “stole” his 2020 presidential victory.
The Democrat made it known that this appearance was “not a priority” for him, according to White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.
New Yorker by birth, Donald Trump had to submit, in court, to the ritual imposed on any defendant: state his name, age and profession, take a fingerprint. On the other hand, he likely escaped the notorious “mugshot” – the mugshot, the source of so much public humiliation for stars in the United States.
The charges relate to accounting fraud in legal payments intended to cover up three embarrassing cases ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
A Trump Tower doorman, who claimed to have information about a child out of wedlock, was given $30,000 to remain silent; a woman who posed as a former mistress was paid $150,000 to keep a low profile; and finally a pornographic actress collected 130,000 dollars to conceal an alleged extramarital relationship, detailed prosecutor Alvin Bragg in a press release.
Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, this woman who has been working with the justice system for five years, was supposed to conceal a supposed and very brief extramarital relationship in 2006 with Donald Trump, which he denies.
The $130,000 she received from the former president’s former lawyer and handyman, Michael Cohen — who served time in prison and turned against his boss in 2018 — had not been paid. reported in the 2016 presidential candidate Trump’s campaign accounts.
A possible violation of New York State election laws: this sum had been recorded, potentially illegally, as “legal fees” in the accounts of his company Trump Organization, already sentenced in December and January to a civil fine of 1 $.6 million for fraud.
Beyond this case, Donald Trump, who has been impeached twice by Congress, is the subject of several other investigations, in particular on his role in the attack on the Capitol, his management of the presidential archives or the pressure exerted about election officials in Georgia.