Donald Trump 'angry and upset' but not worried over charges in hush money probe into Stormy Daniels payment

31 March 2023, 14:12 | Updated: 31 March 2023, 16:07

Donald Trump plans to fight his incidtment
Donald Trump plans to fight his incidtment. Picture: Getty/Social media

By Will Taylor

Donald Trump’s lawyer said the former president is “upset” and “angry” but not worried after it was announced he would be charged over a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

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The former President's legal team have said they will not attempt a plea deal with prosecutors because he "did not commit any crime".

He is expected to appear in court to be accused of over 30 charges related to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, after a New York grand jury voted to indict him.

Prosecutors are negotiating Mr Trump's surrender with his team, while he has branded the claims against him as politically motivated.

But defence lawyers Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina said there will be no attempt at a plea deal because Mr Trump "did not commit any crime".

They added: "We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court."

Mr Tacopina insisted "the president will not be put in handcuffs" ahead of the expected mugshot and fingerprint taking next week.

Read more: Donald Trump parties at Mar-a-Lago mansion just hours after being told he faces '30 charges' over Stormy Daniels money

Mr Trump was seen enjoying himself just hours after the charges were confirmed. He was pictured partying at his Mar-a-Lago estate with wife Melania.

Conservative media commentator Gina Loudon tweeted the photo of Mr Trump at the Florida estate.

"Beautiful evening here at the gorgeous Mar a Lago! Our REAL First Couple enveloped in the love of their friends and most loyal!" she said.

Mr Tacopina said he has been told his client faces an indictment in New York, making him the first former US president to be charged with a crime.

Mr Trump called the charge "election interference", saying that he is "completely innocent" and the "victim of a corrupt and distorted version of the American justice system".

The former president has been indicted over alleged crimes relating to a $130,000 (£105,000) payment to Ms Daniels towards the end of the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Picture: Getty

Ms Daniels alleges that she had sex with Mr Trump a decade before he became president, which he denies.

Ms Necheles told reporters she expects the arraignment - his initial court appearance - to be on Tuesday (April 4).

US media are reporting that the former president, who wants to run again in 2024, will face more than 30 charges related to business fraud. The exact charges have not been made public yet.

Mr Trump is still popular with his base, and is leading in polls for the Republican primary. Police in New York have been ordered to stand ready in case of crowd trouble amid expected anger among his supporters over the charges.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump dances while exiting after speaking during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25
Former U.S. President Donald Trump dances while exiting after speaking during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25. Picture: Getty

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

"From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your president of the United States, the radical left Democrats - the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this country - have been engaged in a witch-hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement. 

"You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this.

"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.

"Never before in our nation’s history has this been done.

"The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a president of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for president, has never happened before. Ever."

Donald Trump Holds First Rally Of 2024 Presidential Campaign
Donald Trump Holds First Rally Of 2024 Presidential Campaign. Picture: Getty

He continued: "Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace.

"Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!

"I believe this witch-hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the radical left Democrats are doing here. 

"Everyone can see it. So our movement, and our party - united and strong - will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Read More: Ring of steel around US landmarks as nation on tenterhooks ahead of Donald Trump ‘arrest’

Read More: Stormy Daniels meets with prosecutors investigating Donald Trump

A spokesperson for Alvin Bragg's office said: "This evening we contacted Mr Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. 

"Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”

Eric Trump, his son, said in a statement: "This is third world prosecutorial misconduct. It is the opportunistic targeting of a political opponent in a campaign year.

The former president's spokesman, Taylor Budowich said: "This is not an indictment for a crime - there was no crime."

Meanwhile, Republicans across the country have been reacting to news of Mr Trump's indictment, with Matt Gaetz saying it is a "politically motivated prosecution".

The hush money case in New York that has led to criminal charges against Donald Trump is just one of a number of investigations that could pose legal problems for the former US president.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Picture: Getty

Florida Governor Ron de Santis waded in on Mr Trump's indictment, labelling it "un-American".

Mr Trump current lives in Florida, meaning he will need to go to New York to be arrested.

Mr DeSantis, who is a possible opponent of Mr Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, said he would "not assist in an extradition request" from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

"The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American," Mr DeSantis said.