Former president Donald J Trump characteristically doled out a tongue-lashing to the NYC DA Alvin Bragg, the judge handling the case, and a number of characters due to come up in the following legal battles to come after this particular one.
On Tuesday, Trump showed up to court for arraignment, entered a not-guilty plea, and, against the wishes of the judge of the case, returned to Mar-a-Lago to an uproarious fan base to deliver a fiery excoriation of the prosecution at the ballroom therein.
“I never thought anything like this could happen in America…I never thought it could happen. The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it, ” Trump said, as he faced a sea of supporters in MAGA and Trump 2024 merchandise, including his closest allies such as Rep Matt Gaetz, Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, and his children, Don and Tiffany Trump. Ivanka has remained at a distance since his announcement for reelection.
Just prior to landing in Florida, Trump issued a statement via social media, remarking, “The hearing was shocking to many in that they had no “surprises,” and therefore, no case. Virtually every legal pundit has said that there is no case here. There was nothing done illegally!”; although it may be a little early to tell what is to come from the 34-count indictment facing the former president, many are in agreement that the case leaves much to be desired.
Former national security advisor to former President Trump, John Bolton, has been largely critical of Trump and his behavior since he left the administration. Despite this particular disposition, he was full-throated in his critique of the findings within the indictment: “Speaking as someone who very strongly does not want Donald Trump to get the Republican presidential nomination, I’m extraordinarily distressed by this document…I think this is even weaker than I feared it would be.” Legal experts and Democrat leaders have also been critical of the proceedings, fearing a loss on the most minor of charges facing Trump will allow him to compromise all further cases by labeling the whole thing a witch hunt.
Notably, Trump opened his speech at Mar-a-Lago, not with an assault on the current proceedings but by laying out a brief timeline of past investigations into his administration (including Russian collusion allegations and both past and current investigations into possible election interference in the 2020 election) which plays into those aforementioned fears.
Trump is scheduled to appear for his next court date on December 4th.