How Trump's Indictment Will Play Out In Court


(MENAFN- IANS) By T.N. Ashok

New York, March 31 (IANS) Millions of Americans, who support or hate former President Donald Trump, wonder how his indictment by a grand New York jury of a lower Manhattan court on "tax fraud" and "hush money" to an adult star play out in court -- like any defendant or look very different.

Most Republicans in the GOP from former Vice-President Mike Pence to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has been at the but end of severe and harsh criticism by Trump, however have rallied round Trump denouncing the sealed indictment by the jury as "political persecution: Trump and his son Eric, Vice- President of the Trump businesses, have called the indictment a political witch-hunt". Most GOP members feel the indictment would brighten Trump's dim prospects of nomination in the primaries for the 2024 presidential run, media report said.

A CNN report said that the Manhattan grand jury's indictment of Trump will set in motion a criminal process that will in some ways work like that of any other defendant, and in other ways, look very different.

In the US when a person is indicted, the charges are sometimes kept under seal until the defendant makes his first appearance in court. At present, the charges against the former President voted for indictment and trial by the grand jury of New York are under a sealed envelope and kept secret, though a 30-minute testimony has been leaked.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Trump's attorney has been contacted to coordinate his surrender before the court.

"Trump's lawyer has been informed that the District Attorney's Office notice for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment will remain under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected," Bragg added in a statement.

A first appearance in court in US courts are usually public proceedings and in some cases the facility for self-surrender for the defendant is made with his lawyers. That's voluntarily turning themselves into law enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, the New York police has been issued an internal memo to be ready in uniform to be on duty when the possible surrender takes place, media reports said.

The country is said to be on the edge and going into a frenzy with supporters, with actions similar to January 6 when Trump makes his appearance in court.

Trump's attorneys were informed of the grand jury's vote shortly after the indictment was publicly reported. Trump will in all probability be given the allowance of turning himself in voluntarily, according to multiple sources quoted by CNN.

Proceedings in a first appearance of a defendant, as in Trump this case, can vary entirely.

A first appearance is also considered an arraignment, when a plea is expected to be entered. Release conditions are discussed -- such as travel restrictions or home confinement -- at a first appearance and defendants are informed of their rights. The lawyers for the government and the defendant also often enter their appearance at this stage of the court proceedings, media reports said.

Trump is not likely to be treated differently or given extra privileges because he is a former President, but he will have to go through the same processes that any defendant must go through when a charge is brought.

However, Trump's status as a former President and nominee for the 2024 Presidential run will invite additional security. Whatever travel Trump must take for his arraignment will need to be coordinated with the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies, reports said.

Those conversations between the Secret Service, the US Marshals Service and the New York Police Department have already begun, a senior NYPD source told CNN.

Meanwhile, Trump, who wants to turn his arrest or surrender as a public spectacle to garner sympathy among his supporters and possible voters, has told his advisers that he wants to be handcuffed when he makes his appearance in court, should the indictment follow suit in the hush money case involving an adult star Stormy Daniels in the 2016 pre- poll campaign.

Trump believes if he has to go to the courthouse to surrender, he would be fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken for police records, the sources close to him said, he may as well turn everything into a "spectacle".

Trump's insistence for being handcuffed for a perp walk arises from reasoning that he wants to project a certain strong defiance against an unfair prosecution hoping that would galvanize his base for his 2024 presidential campaign.

People close to Trump said that at the same time Trump was deeply anxious of special arrangements -- his first court appearance -- by video link or his skulking into the court room would render him weak and project him as a loser.

Trump's legal team has balked at his personal appearance asking he be allowed to quietly turn himself in next week in a scheduled remote appearance. Lawyers cited guidance from his Secret Service detail about potential security concerns.

Media reports said Trump told various allies over the weekend that he didn't care if someone shot him -- he would become "a martyr".

Trump added if he got shot he would probably win the presidency in 2024, the sources said.

--IANS

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