(New York) New drama in New York: justice has postponed, perhaps until next week, the possible criminal indictment of former President of the United States Donald Trump, several media reported on Wednesday.
The 76-year-old Republican billionaire, who dreams of “returning” to the White House in November 2024, must answer in court in New York State for a case of payment of 130,000 dollars, just before his victory in the November 2016 presidential election, to an X-film actress, Stormy Daniels, with whom he allegedly had an affair.
After years of investigation by the Manhattan prosecutor’s office, its prosecutor Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat, seemed close to announcing a criminal indictment – which would be historic – of the 45th American president (2017-2021) since last week.
It was Donald Trump, who from his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, sparked a media and political storm on Saturday by writing in all caps on his Truth Social network that he would be charged and “arrested” on Tuesday.
But Prosecutor Bragg remained silent and nothing happened as announced by the former head of state.
But according to the New York Times and the online media Insider, which rely on two judicial sources, the grand jury meeting this Wednesday has been canceled.
Insider says that panel will not vote until the end of the week, even if it was to meet on Thursday. The grand jury sits on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Asked by AFP, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor declined to “confirm or comment on matters related to the grand jury”.
And even charged, Mr. Trump would not be “arrested” immediately. It would take several days for him to appear in Manhattan.
In this case, after having voluntarily “surrendered” to justice, he would be served with the charges and would, possibly and symbolically, be placed under arrest for a few minutes.
The former president, who has upset the balance of power in the United States since 2016, would then be photographed, his fingerprints taken and he could even be briefly handcuffed.
In the meantime, New York is preparing. Calmly.
New York City Police (NYPD) handlers set up metal barriers in front of the courthouse and Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday.
And, to prevent any risk of clashes in a city with a violent history, the NYPD warned that “the presence of uniformed police officers will increase in the five boroughs of the megalopolis”, even if there is ” currently no credible threat to New York.”
Mr. Trump, surrounded by several court files, assures him that he has committed “no crime” and is the victim of a “witch hunt” led by the Democrats.
The case of pornographic actress Stormy Daniels is legally complex.
New York justice seeks 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 accelerated last week.
Michael Cohen, former lawyer and now enemy of Trump who paid Stormy Daniels, had 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 New York Times and the Washington Post.
He had called on his supporters on Saturday to “protest” and gave them an appointment at the next presidential election on November 5, 2024 to “return” to the White House.
So far there have been a few dozen protesters outside the courthouse and Trump Tower in New York, and in Palm Beach, Florida.
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.