(New York) The United States suspended on Monday the possible criminal indictment, even the 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 “witch hunt” according to the billionaire who calls for protests.
The thunderclap, more than a year and a half before the 2024 presidential election, sounded on Saturday when the former White House tenant claimed on his Truth Social platform that he would be “arrested” on Tuesday.
For what ? Citing “leaks” from New York state justice, Donald Trump expects a criminal charge following a years-long investigation by Manhattan district attorneys, led since January 2022 Magistrate Alvin Bragg.
Never has an American head of state, in office or having left the presidency, been indicted.
The Republican businessman, defeated by Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election and who dreams of being re-elected in 2024, has been urging his supporters since Saturday to “protest”, and a “peaceful” rally of young Trumpists is planned Monday at 6 p.m. EST in New York’s south island of Manhattan.
A lawyer for Donald Trump, Alina Habba, warned on CNN on Sunday: “If they [the Democrats] choose to [indict him] for an offense that he frankly didn’t even commit, it will cause mess”.
On social media on Monday, Trumpists promise to prevent the indictment of their hero, including the group “The Donald” who ignites for a “national strike” or even a “civil war 2.0”, according to the media Rolling Stone and Daily Beast.
But we are far from the calls to pound the pavement after the 2020 presidential election that Donald Trump still considers “stolen”.
Faced with fears of violence in New York – a Democratic city but where the native Trump has supporters – the municipal police (NYPD) replied to AFP that their “state of preparation was a constant at all times and for all eventualities “, and that she was “coordinating” with the federal police (FBI) and the Manhattan prosecutor’s office.
The 76-year-old businessman, who has shattered the balance of power in the United States, again on Monday attacked the “corrupt” services of Attorney Bragg, an African-American, Democratic and elected magistrate ( like all judges and prosecutors).
The case of porn actress Stormy Daniels is legally complex.
A New York court is seeking to determine whether Trump is guilty of misrepresentation – an offense – or breach of campaign finance laws – a criminal offense – by paying $130,000 to this woman, real name Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 election.
What purpose ? For her to conceal a supposed extramarital relationship of the billionaire, according to the prosecution.
“There is no crime,” Donald Trump defended himself again Monday, in capital letters on Truth Social.
In any case, the investigation accelerated last week.
Michael Cohen, former lawyer and now enemy of Trump, having paid Stormy Daniels testified, as well as the actress, before a grand jury, a panel of citizens with broad investigative powers and responsible for ratifying an indictment.
Donald Trump was also invited to speak before this grand jury, according to the press and one of his lawyers had replied that he would “surrender” willingly to a summons from the New York justice.
Even if the billionaire is indicted, Donald Trump, who lives in Palm Beach, Florida, is likely to voluntarily surrender to court in Manhattan, according to former prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
He would very symbolically be placed there for a few moments under arrest, photographed, and his fingerprints would be taken.
He could even possibly be handcuffed for a few minutes.
But to avoid making it a “show,” the real estate mogul “probably wouldn’t come into [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 Donald Trump defeated at the polls called on his supporters to challenge the results.
On Sunday, Republican caciques cautiously defended 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 2024 presidential election.