Trump To Appear In Court Today Over Sexual Scandal Involving Porn Star Stormy Daniels

Trump To Appear In Court Today Over Sexual Scandal Involving Porn Star Stormy Daniels

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Donald Trump, the ex-president and frontrunner to be the Republican nominee in 2024, will appear in court today and is set to be formally charged, fingerprinted, and have a mugshot taken in a watershed moment ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Mr Trump was indicted last week, becoming the first sitting or former president to face criminal charges, over a case involving a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

He has said he is innocent and is due to plead not guilty.

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Mr Trump will turn himself in amid tight security as demonstrations were expected for and against a man who has riled liberals and some global allies, but is lauded by many white blue-collar and conservative Christian voters.

“We have to take back our Country and, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Mr Trump wrote on his Truth Social profile shortly after arriving in New York from Florida yesterday, urging supporters to donate to his campaign.

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The arraignment, where Mr Trump will be in court to hear charges and have a chance to enter a plea, was planned for 2.15pm (7.15pm Irish time).

Mr Trump’s lawyers opposed videography, photography and radio coverage, saying it would “exacerbate an already almost circus-like atmosphere around this case”, detracting from dignity and decorum.

Judge Juan Merchan ruled that five photographers will be admitted before the arraignment starts to take pictures for several minutes until they must stop, with cameras allowed in the hallways of the building.

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The District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, who led the investigation, will later give a news conference in the afternoon.

Mr Trump will return to Florida and deliver remarks from Mar-a-Lago at 8.15pm on Tuesday (1.15am Irish time on Wednesday morning), his office said.

The specific charges in the indictment by a grand jury convened are due to be disclosed.

Mr Trump and his allies have portrayed the charges as politically motivated.

Multiple Legal Woes

The Manhattan grand jury that indicted Mr Trump heard evidence for months this year about a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Ms Daniels has said she was paid to keep silent about a sexual encounter she had with Mr Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006. Mr Trump denies having had any such relationship with her.

An indictment or even a conviction do not legally prevent Mr Trump from running for president.

Beefing up his legal team, Mr Trump hired Todd Blanche, a prominent white-collar criminal defence lawyer and former federal prosecutor, to join his defense, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The Manhattan investigation is just one of several legal challenges concerning Mr Trump.

Mr Trump also faces a separate criminal probe into whether he unlawfully tried to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia, and two investigations by a special counsel including over his handling of classified documents after leaving office.

Any potential trial in the Manhattan case is still at least more than a year away, legal experts said, meaning it could occur during or after the presidential campaign.

Mr Trump’s campaign raised $7 million in the three days after word of the indictment emerged last week, senior adviser Jason Miller said, and issued the latest in several fundraising emails, taking aim at the media’s reporting of the indictment.

2024 Ramifications

What effect the case has on Republicans deciding on their candidate for the November 2024 presidential election, and the choice all Americans then make, could have profound implications in the world’s most powerful country and beyond its borders.

Leading potential challengers for the nomination, including Mr DeSantis and his former vice president Mike Pence, have publicly rallied around Mr Trump in recent days.

While president between 2017 and 2021, Mr Trump regularly clashed with allies over trade and defence, and a return to the Oval Office looks set to weaken US support for Ukraine.

On the Manhattan case, Mr Trump in 2018 initially disputed knowing anything about the payment to Ms Daniels.

He later acknowledged reimbursing Michael Cohen for the payment, which he called a “simple private transaction”.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance law violations for his role in orchestrating the payments to Ms Daniels and another woman, Karen McDougal, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

He testified that Mr Trump directed him to make the payments.

Cohen testified before the Manhattan grand jury investigating Trump on 13 March.

Following Mr Trump’s indictment, he told Reuters: “I decided that I was not going to allow history to remember me as the villain to his story.”

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