Following his indictment in New York City, former President Donald Trump will be arraigned on Tuesday, according to court officials, who announced his formal surrender and arrest on Friday. His forced appearance before a judge will be a historic and stunning event.
The prosecutor in Trump’s hush money case defended the grand jury investigation that led to his trial, while congressional Republicans characterized everything as politically motivated while Trump and his attorneys were preparing for their defense.
In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg denied congressional inquiries into the grand jury process, which is by law a private one, and informed three Republican House committee chairs that such assertions are “misleading and meritless.”
Bragg wrote to Reps. James Comer, Jim Jordan, and Bryan Steil said, “We implore you to stop these incendiary claims, drop your demand for information, and let the criminal justice process progress without unlawful political intervention.”
Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House, has promised to have Congress look into Bragg. Steil, Jordan, and Comer have requested grand jury testimony, paperwork, and records of any correspondence with the Justice Department from Bragg’s office.
A grand jury investigation into hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to bury claims of an illicit sexual encounter led to the indictment of Trump, which was made public on Thursday. As is customary in New York before arraignment, the charge has remained sealed.
Republican candidate for president in 2024, Donald Trump, has denied any wrongdoing and called the inquiry a “scam,” a “persecution,” an injustice, and a political low blow.
Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer for Trump, declared on television interviews on Friday that he will “very aggressively” contest the legality of the Manhattan grand jury indictment.
Trump has turned his ire toward the judge handling the case on his social media platform, responding to what he considers “political persecution.”
There are no established procedures for booking an ex-president because none have ever been accused of a crime. Secret Service agents must always remain by Trump’s side because he is under their protection.
Trump was asked to surrender on Friday, and according to two people familiar with the situation, the Secret Service required extra time to make security arrangements.
Answering criminal charges in New York typically involves at least several hours of imprisonment while being fingerprinted, photographed, and through other procedures, even for defendants who turn themselves in.
Bragg’s office said on Thursday that it had spoken with Trump’s attorney to arrange a surrender. Trump’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, predicted he would likely bring himself in on Tuesday before the court announced the arraignment date.
The probe focused on six-figure payments made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn performer Stormy Daniels.
Both assert they had sex with the married Trump years before he entered politics; he denies having sex with either.
In 2016, when Trump ran for president, his associates bribed the women to cover up their claims. In a deal mediated by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer publisher paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story and then withheld them.
Following Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels, Trump’s business compensated him, gave him bonuses, and recorded the payments to Cohen as legal costs.
In a 2018 criminal prosecution against Cohen, federal prosecutors said the payments amounted to unethical support for Trump’s campaign.
Despite Trump, who was then in the White House, not being targeted by federal authorities, Cohen admitted guilt to charges of campaign finance violations. Yet, he was indirectly named in some of their court documents as knowing the payment arrangements.
Trump is battling other investigations that might have severe legal repercussions at the time of the New York indictment.
Prosecutors in Atlanta are investigating whether he broke any laws by pleading with Georgia officials to overturn his close loss to Joe Biden in the state’s 2020 election.
At the federal level, a special counsel established by the Justice Department is also looking into Trump’s attempts to tamper with the national election results. The special counsel is also investigating whether the former president or his representatives attempted to obstruct the investigation into those materials and how and why Trump kept a trove of top-secret government records at his club and home in Florida Mar-a-Lago.