By Ononye VC
Protests and counterprotests rocked the United States when former President Donald Trump appeared at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023, to face criminal charges.
Outside the venue were hundreds of people, including Trump supporters, many sporting “MAGA” hats and attire emblazoned with the American flag, and anti-Trump demonstrators, yelling slurs at each other.
Media and curious onlookers, as well as security authorities, were not left out of the drama.
The anti-Trump camp unfurled a large banner reading “Trump lies all the time” and chanted “Lock him up!” as Trump fans waved a flag with the slogan “Trump or Death.”
The drama relayed on live television showed rival protesters rallying outside the court for the hearing of the watershed moment for the US criminal and political system.
According to sources, the trial possesses the potential to end Trump’s 2024 White House race wherein he currently leads other Republican nominees.
A stern-looking Trump had arrived at the court for the historic appearance in New York on Tuesday wherein he pleaded not guilty to 34 criminal charges stemming from hush money allegedly paid to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election.
The 76-year-old Republican became the first American president to be arrested on criminal charges when he entered the historic court hearing in New York.
Trump was not subjected to a “perp walk” in which a defendant is escorted in handcuffs past media cameras.
He was later seen exiting the building and making his way to a waiting motorcade just over two hours after arriving at the Manhattan court complex.
Trump turned himself in earlier for the court hearing held amid tight security and a global media frenzy, as the Republican billionaire becomes the first American president in history to face criminal charges.
“THE RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS HAVE CRIMINALIZED THE JUSTICE SYSTEM,” Trump posted hours before the hearing, branding the proceedings a “kangaroo court.”
“Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!” Trump had posted on his Truth Social app as he headed to the courthouse from Trump Tower, where he passed the night.
The twice-impeached Republican is the first sitting or former American president to be criminally indicted—a development that has propelled the United States into uncharted political waters.
Trump was indicted last week by a grand jury in the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat.
The charges revolve around the investigation of $130,000 paid to the adult film actress just days before Trump’s election win.
Trump’s former lawyer and aide Michael Cohen, who has turned against his ex-boss, says he arranged the payment to Daniels in exchange for her silence about a tryst she says she had with Trump in 2006.
Trump, whose third wife Melania had recently given birth at the time, denies the affair.
Legal experts have suggested that if not properly accounted for, the payment could result in charges for falsifying business records, possibly for the purpose of covering up a campaign finance violation.