Uncertainty looms ahead of Trump’s historic arraignment

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 2:33 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A historic Tuesday ahead as former President Donald Trump is expected to be arraigned – a first in American history. Trump is expected to turn himself in despite his vocal opposition to the entire process.

“It’s so hard to know in advance what’s going to happen because we don’t know the severity or the scope of what these charges are,” said Mushtaq Gunja, a legal expert at Georgetown University Law Center.

The historic move comes after a grand jury voted to indict Trump for allegedly sending hush money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 after an alleged affair.

Gunja says Trump will appear at a courthouse in Manhattan Tuesday, charges will be unveiled, a not guilty plea will almost certainly follow, and the president will be released. It could be as simple as that, but Gunja notes, Trump consistently attacks the justice system, especially Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who is bringing the charges in this case.

“When all a defendant is doing is sort of attacking a judge or attacking the prosecutors, then their legal arguments are not quite as strong,” said Gunja.

Gunja says with charges currently sealed it is unclear exactly how many there are. He says if there are 30-plus charges as has been reported, this could be more significant than just hush money payments. John Malcolm from the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation argues this case appears to be selective enforcement of the law.

“I certainly have my own suspicion that had we not been talking about Donald Trump, these charges would not have been filed,” said Malcolm.

Trump’s arraignment comes as he faces investigations in other cases, including one in Georgia relating to 2020 election meddling, and investigations in Washington, D.C. related to his handling of classified documents after leaving office and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Trump and his supporters argue Democrats are using the Justice Department to interfere in the 2024 election. Democrats say no one is above the law.

“Just as sacrosanct as ‘no man is above the law’ is an apolitical, equal handed approach to enforcing our criminal laws,” said Malcolm.

Following his arraignment in New York Trump will fly home to Florida where he says he will address his supporters from Mar-a-Lago.