WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) – Former US President Donald Trump was indicted in Florida on Tuesday after being indicted in New York City on charges by a grand jury that heard testimony about hush money to a porn star before the 2016 election, while his lawyer on Sunday He said he expects to drop the charges.
Trump, 76, is expected to be arraigned, framed and photographed in a Manhattan square on Tuesday when he becomes the first former US president to face criminal charges.
Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, said he expects the details surrounding the indictment to be released on Monday and noted that the Secret Service, which protects former presidents, may also have a role to play on Tuesday.
“All the packages are still very much up in the air on Tuesday, except that we’re going to say loudly and proudly, ‘I’m not guilty,'” Tacopino told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
“Hopefully this will be as painless and classy as possible for a situation like this,” Tacopino added, describing the charges as politically damaging to Trump as he seeks to regain the presidency in 2024.
Tacopina said it would be inappropriate to have a “perp walk,” where a person who has been accused is held in front of the news media because of security concerns.
Before the indictment, a grand jury heard testimony about a $130,000 payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels said he was paid to remain silent about a meeting with Trump in 2006. Trump denied any such meeting.
Word of the indictment emerged Thursday although specific charges against Trump stemming from the investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, have not been released.
“We don’t do anything in the prosecution, because it’s for show, and nothing more – because we didn’t even see the crime,” said Tacopina.
Tacopina added that Trump’s lawyers will cut the impeachment once it’s published and will look to challenge “every possible outcome.”
“And of course I very much anticipate the motion to release, because there is no law suitable for this,” added Tacopina.
The prosecution official said at 2:15 pm (1815 GMT) on Tuesday. The official said: The judge asked that both parties should be allowed to take their positions on the cameras and video in the courtroom.
Trump plans to hand over his Mar-a-Lago estate on Palm Beach at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday (0015 GMT Wednesday), his office said on Sunday.
The Trump campaign declined to comment on what he would say. A source familiar with the matter, which the Republican businessman-turned-politician said, is likely to focus on what he feels is his political persecution and “a political system of arming justice to manipulate the election.”
TO THE FAMILY JUDGE
Trump, who has announced his candidacy in November 2024, plans to fly in from Mar-a-Lago in New York on Monday and spend the night in Trump Tower before his appearance, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.
Trump is expected to appear before Judge Ian Merchan for a criminal trial in Manhattan. Merchan also presided over a criminal trial last year in which Trump’s company was convicted of real estate tax fraud, although Trump himself was not charged.
Trump lashed out at Merchan on Friday, saying the judge hates him and has treated the Trump Organization “viciously.”
On Sunday, Tacopina deflected questions about whether Trump’s team should seek a new judge’s decision.
“I have nothing to do with this judge’s offspring; he has an excellent reputation,” Tacopina said.
Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson announced his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Sunday and called on Trump to drop out of the race.
“I think it’s a sad day in America that we have a former president that means,” Hutchinson said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Asked if Trump would withdraw from the nation, Hutchinson said: “Well, he should, but we know at the same time that he won’t.”
No other Republican candidate or potential candidate has made such a call. Prominent Republicans, including former and future Trump presidential rivals, have joined him in describing the state’s crimes.
“I think this is a politically motivated move,” Republican US Representative Mike Turner told CNN of the accusations against the state of the union. “It’s one thing when you have a broken culture. It’s another thing when you have a criminal justice system.”
Some Trump supporters gathered on the bridge from Mar-a-Lago on Sunday, including a woman who drove 23 hours from Detroit.
“I’m here because I want to support my president – it’s a simple concept,” said Debbie Macchia, 58, who noted that she had been sleeping in her car since Thursday.
Diane Bartz, Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Rich McKay in Florida; Additional report by Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Will Dunham
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