- Trump arraignment expected about 2:15 p.m. in New York court.
- Trump scheduled a speech at 8:15 p.m. from Mar-a-Lago.
- A lawyer for key witness Michael Cohen contends he has evidence to back up hush money payments.
Donald Trump is set to be arraigned Tuesday in New York, a historic moment as the first former president ever to face criminal charges and a dramatic backdrop for the 2024 presidential race as he campaigns again for the White House.
The high-stakes case represents risks for Trump, who faces possible criminal penalties if convicted, and also Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who Republicans including Trump have vilified as politically motivated.
The seediness of the allegations allowed Republicans to shrug off charges. Witnesses said Trump arranged for his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to pay two women for their silence before the 2016 election. Trump denied wrongdoing and noted Cohen is a convicted liar. Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination have criticized Bragg, with some saying voters should decide the former president’s fate.
Trump has boasted about overcoming previous investigations including special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election and two House impeachments that resulted in Senate acquittals over his dealings with Ukraine and his role in the Capitol attack Jan. 6, 2021.
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However the New York case is resolved, Trump faces other investigations in Georgia over alleged election fraud and from the Justice Department over whether he incited the Jan. 6 attack and the discovery of hundreds of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
The arraignment marks the start of criminal proceedings. Bragg announced the indictment Thursday and is expected to unveil the detailed charges Tuesday.
Trump is expected to have his mug shot and fingerprints taken, have the formal charges read and then plead not guilty “loudly and proudly,” his lawyer Joe Tacopina told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. But the details haven’t been nailed down because the Secret Service will accompany Trump, Tacopina said.
Here is what we know about the case so far:
What are the charges facing Trump?
Witnesses before the Manhattan grand jury have described hush-money payments Trump directed former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to make to silence two women who claimed to have had sex with Trump before the 2016 election.
Legal experts expect a combination of misdemeanor charges alleging falsification of business records about the payments, combined with a felony such as a campaign finance violation.
But Trump has denied wrongdoing and Tacopina said there is no documentation of false business records.
“All of the Tuesday stuff is very much up in the air except that we will very loudly and proudly say not guilty,” Tacopina said. “We’re not doing anything at the arraignment because that would be showmanship and nothing more because we haven’t even seen the indictment.”
– Bart Jansen
Trump judge expected to be same as for Trump Organization case
The New York judge tentatively assigned to preside at Donald Trump’s arraignment is familiar with players in the former president’s orbit.
Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan oversaw the fraud trial of Trump’s namesake real estate company and the related Trump Payroll Corporation, which ended in December with a conviction and $1.6 million in fines.
Merchan also oversaw the sentencing of former Trump financial chief Allen Weisselberg, whose testimony in the fraud case helped secure the convictions.
Trump has harshly criticized Merchan in posts on his social media company, Truth Social.
“The Judge ‘assigned’ to my Witch Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME,” Trump wrote in one post.
– Kevin Johnson, Josh Meyer, David Jackson
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Lawyers for Trump, Cohen argue against each other’s credibility
Tacopina and Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, foreshadowed the fight over credibility in any eventual trial.
Tacopina called Cohen a convicted liar who “is constitutionally incapable of telling the same story the same way twice.” Tacopina said there is no documentation of Trump falsifying business records.
“I know there is no such evidence,” Tacopina said. “Michael Cohen is a pathological, convicted liar.”
Davis said Cohen and other witnesses have provided testimony and documentation. Cohen has already been imprisoned in part because he arranged for $280,000 in hush payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
“Michael Cohen submitted a lot of documentation,” Davis said. “There are other documents from other people and other testimony from other people.”
– Bart Jansen
New York mayor warns Trump protesters to ‘control yourselves’
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday urged potential protesters for Donald Trump’s arraignment – he singled out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. – to be on their best behavior and threatened anyone who becomes violent with arrest.
“While there may be some rabble-rousers thinking about coming to our city tomorrow, our message is clear and simple: control yourselves,” Adams said.
He said there were no specific threats. But he said people like Greene, “who is known to spread misinformation and hate speech,” are expected to visit the city. New York Young Republicans announced she would attend a 10:30 a.m. rally Tuesday at Collect Pond Park.
“While you are in town, be on your best behavior,” Adams said.
– Bart Jansen
Stormy Daniels says she’s received death threats since Trump indictment
Stormy Daniels says she is “kind of numb” now that the hush-money investigation stemming from her alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006 has led to his criminal indictment – and that it has prompted death threats against her.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told the Times UK that the charges by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office amount to a vindication of her efforts to hold the former president accountable. But in her first interview since Trump’s indictment last Thursday, she said the as-yet-unspecific charges have put her in more personal danger than ever before.
“The first time it was like gold digger, slut, whore. You know, liar, whatever and this time it’s like, ‘I’m gonna murder you,’ “ she said of the threatening messages she has been getting.
– Josh Meyer
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