Trump ‘shocked’ by indictment but ‘ready to fight’

WASHINGTON: Following his historic indictment on criminal charges, Donald Trump was preparing on Friday (Mar 31) to go where no former US president has gone before – a prosecutor’s office to be booked, fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken.

Trump’s pending arrest, expected on Tuesday, throws a political grenade into the 2024 presidential race, in which the 76-year-old real estate tycoon is hoping to return to the White House.

A New York grand jury indicted Trump on Thursday over a US$130,000 hush-money payment made to a porn star to buy her silence during his 2016 campaign.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused the Manhattan district attorney who brought the charges, Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of waging a “political witch-hunt” to derail his new White House bid.

Trump’s lawyers said the former president, who is currently at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, would surrender to New York authorities on Tuesday to face the charges, which remain under seal.

Extra security has been deployed for days around the downtown Manhattan courthouse where Trump is expected to be booked and arraigned before a judge.

“The president will not be put in handcuffs,” said Joe Tacopina, one of Trump’s attorneys.

“I’m sure they’ll try to make sure they get some joy out of this by parading him.”

Trump would plead not guilty and there was “zero” chance he would accept a plea deal, Tacopina told NBC’s Today show.

“It’s not going to happen. There’s no crime,” he said.

Trump was initially “shocked” at the indictment, his attorney said, but “he’s now in the posture that he’s ready to fight this”.

In predicting his indictment, Trump called for protests and warned that it could lead to “potential death and destruction” for the country.

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