Donald Trump prepares for historic court appearance as he cries 'witch hunt' and Trump Jr blasts 'sham indictment'

4 April 2023, 08:40 | Updated: 4 April 2023, 08:44

The former president is locked in legal discussions ahead of his court appearance
The former president is locked in legal discussions ahead of his court appearance. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Donald Trump is locked in talks with his lawyers at Trump Tower in New York as he prepares to face criminal charges later today.

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The exact details of the charges he faces will emerge for the first time when he appears in court this evening (around 7pm BST).

He has been under investigation over hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels - who claims the pair had sex. Donald Trump denies any wrongdoing.

A ring of steel has been erected around the Manhattan Court with the authorities expecting violent protests, after Donald Trump himself and family members took steps to whip up their supporters into a political frenzy against the ‘tyrannical’ US justice system.

A ring of steel in place in front of Trump Tower
A ring of steel in place in front of Trump Tower. Picture: Alamy

In a statement asking supporters for money, Donald Trump JR said: “It’s hard to believe something so tyrannical could happen in America… 

"But this is the reality of our country now that the Radical Left Democrats run America. 

"As you know – and as I’ve personally witnessed my entire life – my father is a WARRIOR.

"He will not let this sham indictment stop our mission to Make America Great Again! Our movement will prevail – just as we’ve prevailed after every other vicious attack."

Former President Donald Trump's aides and legal team exit his plane after arriving in New York
Former President Donald Trump's aides and legal team exit his plane after arriving in New York. Picture: Alamy

Mr Trump, 76, is the first ex-US president to face a criminal case.

He wrote "WITCH HUNT" online on his Truth Social social media platform before travelling to New York.

Dozens of police and court officers, and Secret Service agents will escort Mr Trump through the streets of New York to the Lower Manhattan court complex later.

The hearing is scheduled for around 14:15 local time (19:15 BST) and his lawyers have already said he will plead not guilty.

During his appearance, Trump is expected to be fingerprinted, learn the exact charges against him and plead not guilty.

The indictment includes multiple charges of falsifying business records, including at least one felony offence, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The investigation has looked into six-figure payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Both say they had sexual encounters with Trump years before he entered politics.

Trump denies having sexual encounters with either woman and has denied any wrongdoing involving payments.

What to expect from Trump's court appearance

Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower
Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower. Picture: Getty

Trump is expected to arrive at court at around 6.30am New York time (11.30am in the UK).

He is expected to have his mugshot and fingerprints taken at court, but will not be wearing handcuffs.

He will then appear before a judge for his arraignment at around 2.15pm local time (7.15pm in the UK).

Trump will be read his charges and asked to enter a plea, which his lawyers have said will be not guilty.

The former president will then fly back to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, at around 8.15pm local time (1.15am in the UK, Wednesday).

Read more: Did Donald Trump get arrested?

Read more: 'We're ready for this fight': Trump's lawyer says they will vigorously fight charges made against him

The former president and his allies have been on the attack since he was charged on Thursday, labelling the indictment a "politically-motivated witch hunt".

In a statement last week, Trump said: "This is political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history".

He continued: "The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to 'get Trump', but now they've done the unthinkable - indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant election interference."

Former President Donald Trump's motorcade departs his Mar-a-Lago home
Former President Donald Trump's motorcade departs his Mar-a-Lago home. Picture: Alamy
The plane carrying former president Donald Trump lifts off at Palm Beach International Airport,
The plane carrying former president Donald Trump lifts off at Palm Beach International Airport,. Picture: Alamy

Trump arrived in New York yesterday ahead of his scheduled court hearing later today.

He left his home in Mar-a-Lago shortly after midday on Monday for the journey to the airport.

While flying over, he posted on his social media platform Truth Social: "WITCH HUNT, as our once great Country is going to HELL!"

He added a few minutes later: "AMERICA FIRST!"

The former US president is staying at Trump Tower in Manhattan before turning himself in to authorities.

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