Trump to face criminal charges, says ‘I am ready to fight’

Published April 1, 2023
Former US President Donald Trump walks towards his plane during his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, US on March 25, 2023. — Reuters
Former US President Donald Trump walks towards his plane during his first campaign rally after announcing his candidacy for president in the 2024 election at an event in Waco, Texas, US on March 25, 2023. — Reuters

NEW YORK: Former US president Donald Trump is due to be fingerprinted and photographed in a New York courthouse next week as he becomes the first ex-president to face criminal charges, in a case involving a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s expected appearance before a judge in Manhattan on Tuesday as the Republican mounts a comeback bid for the presidency could further inflame divisions across the country.

The first US president to try to overthrow an election defeat, inspiring the deadly assault on the Capitol Hill, has signalled he will continue to campaign even as he faces charges.

“I am not afraid of what’s to come,” he said in a fundraising email on Friday.

Those specific charges have not yet been made public as the indictment remains under seal, but CNN reported that Trump faced more than 30 counts related to business fraud.

Susan Necheles, a Trump attorney, said the former president will plead not guilty.

Another Trump lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said Trump will not have to wear handcuffs at his court appearance and will likely be released without having to post bail.

“He’s ready to fight. He’s gearing up,” Tacopina said.

Partisan brawl

Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, said the charges send a “terrible message” to the world about US justice. “I’m very troubled by it,” Pence, a possible 2024 candidate, said at a forum in Washington.

Senior Republicans in the House of Representatives have vowed to investigate Bragg and demanded he hand over documents and other confidential material from the investigation.

Bragg said on Friday that Congress does not have authority to interfere with the case and accused the lawmakers of escalating political tensions. Bragg’s office has been the target of bomb threats in recent weeks.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2023

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