Donald J. Trump prepared on Friday to surrender to prosecutors in Manhattan next week as the New York police braced for protests and sharply partisan responses from Democrats and Republicans ushered in a tumultuous time for a deeply polarised nation.
A day after a grand jury indicted Trump and made him the first former President to face criminal charges, metal barricades were up around the criminal courthouse on Centre Street in Lower Manhattan.
Trump is expected to enter the often grimy and ill-lit building with his Secret Service protection to answer charges before a state judge on Tuesday.
Dozens of reporters and camera crews camped out across the street on Friday, while 20 court officers stood at the courthouse entrances, monitoring activity on the street. Trump intends to travel to New York on Monday and stay the night at Trump Tower, people familiar with his preparations said.
Trump remained largely quiet on Friday at Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Florida, where he spent the day talking on the telephone with advisers.
One of his lawyers, Joe Tacopina, said in a television interview that the former President would not take a plea deal and was prepared to go to trial, a typically defiant stance that is likely to endear him to his supporters, who see the prosecution as a politically motivated vendetta by the Democrats.
Late on Friday afternoon, Trump burst out on Truth Social, the social media platform he founded, writing in all capital letters that Democrats were “INDICTING A TOTALLY INNOCENT MAN IN AN ACT OF OBSTRUCTION AND BLATANT ELECTION INTERFERENCE”.
He concluded that it was all happening“WHILE OUR COUNTRY IS GOING TO HELL!”
The former President is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan criminal court on charges related to payments made just before the 2016 presidential election to buy the silence of a pornstar who said she had an extramarital affair with him.
The former President, who has denied the affair, has been charged with more than two dozen counts in a sealed indictment, although the exact charges remain unknown.
Conservative Republicans continued to criticise the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, whose office rebuked House Republicans for attempting to interfere in the case.
The case, which could dragon for months and whose outcome is far from clear, is likely to test the country’s institutions and the rule of law. It will also have deep repercussions for the 2024 campaign for the White House, a race in which Trump remains the Republican front-runner.
New York Times News Service