BY TN ASHOK
Washington– Former US President Donald Trump faces a “legal tsunami’ post his arraignment by a New York court on 34 charges of felony, including tax fraud by his businesses and the hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, thus crashing hopes of a Republican nomination for his third presidential run.
On Tuesday, Trump was granted bail by the lower Manhattan court even as prosecution against him continued unabated and he lashed out at District Attorney (DA) Alvin Bragg as a “radical left backed by billionaire George Soros”.
Trump’s trusted allies and donors in the Republican Party and business tycoons have shied away and his ‘best friend’ media baron Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, has dumped him in favour of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is yet to announce his nomination.
Following his arraignment, the former President levelled a series of charges during an address to his supporters and media from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
Some of his charges were: the 2020 elections were “stolen”; other Presidents also took home official records and he was not the only one; the US has seen the strongest inflation in 60 years under the Democrats; and DA Bragg received monies for elections from George Soros.
But all these allegations were rubbished.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said once the President leaves office it takes custody of documents, but Trump took the records to his Florida home.
Soros denied giving money for Bragg’s election campaign as DA saying the funds came from an NGO supported by him as part of strengthening a functioning democracy.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labour denied that inflation was the highest during the present administration.
Now the legal tsunami that Trump faces after the arraignment and his outburst, could see him behind bars for a 100 years.
Fox News specifically said Trump could face 100 years in jail for his tax fraud and hush money scandal and interference in Georgia election count.
As Trump faces criminal indictment in New York, legal experts feel his lawyers could act swiftly and loudly seeking change of venue of prosecution from the Democrat-ruled New York and demanding dismissal of the cases against him.
This could post a challenge to the judge selected to preside over Trump’s arraignment, USA Today said in a report.
Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina has however, maintained that the legal team is “not considering anything” until they read the full indictment.
Yet the former President has said that the presiding judge, Juan Merchan, may be biased against him. This allegation this could bring contempt charges against Trump for suspecting the integrity of an independent judge.
Merchan, the acting Supreme Court justice in Manhattan, presided over the “tax fraud trial “of Trump’s businesses and real estate company and the Trump Payroll Corporation interlinked with it.
The tax fraud case resulted in a conviction in December 2022 and $1.6 million in fines. Trump’s CFO Allen Weiselberg was jailed and turned a possible approver against the fraud but not against Trump personally.
Any attempt by Trump’s legal team to disqualify either DA Bragg or Judge Merchan is a losing game but attorneys may try this to whip a public sentiment in favour of the former President to keep him in the 2024 race.
Cyrus Vance Jr., the former Manhattan prosecutor who first initiated the Trump inquiry, said the defence also could seek a delay to accommodate the 2024 election and prepare an assault on the credibility of the state’s key witness, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
He told NBC News that Cohen will be attacked heavily as he carried the monies in instalments to Daniels.
“Cohen worked for Trump. They had a working relationship. So we often find in criminal cases that the witnesses who are involved aren’t necessarily … priests or nuns.” (IANS)