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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Trump lands in New York to face charges in ‘hush money’ probe

Trump lands in New York to face charges in ‘hush money’ probe

Donald Trump has landed in New York where he is to be arraigned on criminal charges stemming from a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign.

The Former President’s personal plane, known as Trump Force One, landed in La Guardia airport on Monday heading to Trump Tower.

Moments before his plane took off from Florida, he wrote on social media: “HEADING TO NEW YORK. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

“WITCH HUNT, as our once great Country is going to HELL!”

Trump, the first former U.S. president to be charged with a crime, is scheduled to appear in a Manhattan courtroom Tuesday on charges of falsifying business records.


Trump Tower was open, but authorities were planning to close nearby streets as the former president came and went, which will disrupt traffic in the heart of Manhattan. Additional security was also in the works, and authorities had already closed and secured the courthouse floor where the former president is set to appear for an arraignment Tuesday afternoon.

“While there may be some rabble rousers thinking about coming to our city tomorrow, our message is clear and simple: control yourselves,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams. “New York City is our home, not a playground for your misplaced anger. We are the safest large city in America because we respect the rule of law in New York City.”

Trump supporters, including one of his staunchest defenders in Congress, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, planned a rally in New York late Tuesday morning, probably before Trump would have to stand before a judge as part of the arraignment. Adams took the unusual step of calling out the congresswoman by name.

“Although we have no specific threats, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is known to spread misinformation and hate speech, she’s stated she’s coming to town,” Adams said. “While you’re in town, be on your best behaviour.”

Trump and his aides were eagerly embracing the expected media circus, which might even involve network television helicopters tracking his progress from Mar-a-Lago to the airport for his flight to New York. After initially being caught off guard by news of the indictment when it broke Thursday evening, Trump and his team are focused on using what they call a weak case against Trump to his advantage.

Demonstrators supporting Trump began gathering as the Florida sun was just rising at a West Palm Beach shopping centre on the way to the airport, hours before he was passing along the route.

Boca Raton firefighter Erik Solensten and his retired colleague, John Fischer, got an early start putting up banners. One was 30 by 6 feet (9 by 2 meters), picturing police officers and firefighters saying, “Thanks for having our backs, President Trump.”

“We are fire-rescue. We are prepared and don’t like to wait for things to happen,” said Solensten, who took a vacation day to show support for Trump. “He needs morale just like everyone else needs morale. He’s done more for this country than any 10 presidents combined.”

Trump is facing multiple charges of falsifying business records, including at least one felony offence, in the indictment handed down by a Manhattan grand jury last week. The investigation is scrutinizing six-figure payments made to porn actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Both say they had sexual encounters with the married Trump years before he got into politics. Trump denies having sexual liaisons with either woman and has denied any wrongdoing involving payments, arguing that the case against him is politically motivated.

No former president has ever been indicted and, given Trump’s still active campaign for president, legal and political implications are colliding in an unprecedented ways. Trump spent the weekend golfing and meeting advisers but his campaign says it has raised more than $5 million since word of the indictment broke.

Top Republicans, including some of Trump’s potential rivals in next year’s GOP presidential primary, have decried the case against him. Biden and leading Democrats have largely had little to say about it.

Solensten said it is wrong that Trump is being charged with a crime stemming from an alleged tryst with a porn star long before he was in office. He said investigators should instead be looking at Biden’s son, Hunter, and his business dealings, which committees in the Republican-controlled House have already begun examining.

“To me, those acts are treasonable,” Solensten said of the Bidens. “But it’s a walk.”

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