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Trump lawyer says ex-president will not be handcuffed

A lawyer for Donald Trump says the former US president will not be handcuffed when he surrenders next week in New York to face criminal charges.

April 1, 2023
1 April 2023

Former US president Donald Trump will not be handcuffed when he surrenders next week in New York to face criminal charges, his defence lawyer Joe Tacopina says.

Susan Necheles, another Trump lawyer, said the former president will plead not guilty.

Tacopina said that while Trump was not expected to be cuffed, he likely would be fingerprinted and undergo other routine protocols when going to court on Tuesday to face charges in an indictment handed down by a grand jury probing a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

“I don’t know how all this is going to go down,” Tacopina cautioned in an interview. 

“There’s no textbook to see how you arraign a former president of the United States in criminal court.”

Necheles declined to comment on details of the surrender.

Tacopina said Trump and his defence team were surprised by news of the indictment.

“Initially we were all shocked. Didn’t believe they were actually going to go through with this because there’s no crime here,” Tacopina said.

A New York judge on Friday authorised Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to make the charges public but it was not clear when he would do so.

For nearly two weeks, Trump has been using the legal threats he confronts to raise money and rally supporters as he seeks his party’s nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden next year.

Trump has signalled he will continue to campaign even as he faces charges.

“I am not afraid of what’s to come,” he said in a fundraising email on Friday.

The specific charges are not yet known although CNN reported that Trump faced more than 30 counts related to business fraud.

Tacopina said Trump will likely be released without having to post bail.

“He’s ready to fight. He’s gearing up,” Tacopina told Reuters.

Trump, 76, said on Thursday that he was “completely innocent” and accused Bragg, a Democrat, of trying to damage his electoral chances.

Trump’s claims of political interference have been echoed by many of his fellow Republicans and his potential rivals in the 2024 race.

Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, said the charges send a “terrible message” to the world about US justice.

“I’m very troubled by it,” Pence, a possible 2024 candidate, said during an interview at the National Review’s Ideas Summit.

“There are dictators and authoritarians around the world that will point to that to justify their own abuse of their own so-called justice system,” Pence, Trump’s former vice president, said.

Senior Republicans in the House of Representatives have vowed to investigate Bragg and demanded he hand over documents and other confidential material from the investigation.

Bragg said on Friday that Congress does not have authority to interfere with a New York legal proceeding and accused the lawmakers of escalating political tensions. 

Bragg’s office has been the target of bomb threats in recent weeks.

“You and many of your colleagues have chosen to collaborate with Mr Trump’s efforts to vilify and denigrate the integrity of elected state prosecutors and trial judges,” Bragg wrote in a letter to Republican lawmakers.

Biden declined to comment on Friday as he left the White House for a trip to storm-ravaged Mississippi.

Trump alleges there are political motivations behind all four criminal investigations he is known to face – including federal probes into his retention of classified documents and attempts to overturn his election defeat, and a separate Georgia probe into his efforts to overturn his loss in that state.

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