Donald Trump’s lawyers on Sunday lambasted the former president’s historic indictment as “political persecution” ahead of his court appearance next week.
Trump himself plans to make public remarks on Tuesday from Florida, he said in a statement Sunday.
The ex-leader, 76, is due to be arraigned at a Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday afternoon — the first time a president or former president faces criminal charges.
He has denounced the legal proceedings as a “witch hunt” and assailed the judge assigned to hear it.
The indictment is still under seal, and the circumstances of Trump’s appearance in New York remain unclear.
On Sunday, his attorney Joe Tacopina bluntly dismissed the anticipated charges — related to a hush-money payment to an adult film star in 2016 — as “some twilight zone sort of scenario” in an “upside down world.”
“This is a case of political persecution,” he said on CNN.
Tacopina also blasted likely key witness Michael Cohen, the former Trump lawyer who was jailed on related charges and turned against his former boss, as “a pathological, convicted liar.”
– ‘Legal frailties’ –
Tacopina did say that he does not expect to move for an immediate dismissal, saying the Trump team has yet to be able to study the exact charges.
But another Trump attorney, James Trusty, told “Fox News Sunday” that based on “what we’re guessing the indictment will look like, it will have legal frailties that will be subjected to a legitimate motion to dismiss early on.”
As to the proceedings in Manhattan, where police and law enforcement agencies are gearing up for protests and counter-protests, little is yet known, though Trump is expected to be fingerprinted and photographed, as is standard procedure.
“I honestly don’t know how this is going to go — hopefully, smoothly as possible,” Tacopina said. He added that he expected to learn more on Monday.
The Trump lawyer said he did not expect his client to be forced to do a “perp walk” — walking, handcuffed, before news cameras — noting that the former president will be under Secret Service protection.
“Hopefully, this will be as painless and classy as possible,” he said.
Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, pushed back against Tacopina’s remarks, saying on CNN that his client had provided “substantial documentation” to support the expected charges involving porn actress Stormy Daniels.
And he pointed out that similar charges might involve model and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who has drawn less attention.
“Remember, there are two crimes here,” he said.
In the meantime, Trump’s former attorney general Bill Barr said Sunday that he would advise Trump against eventually taking the stand in his own defense.
“I think it’s a particularly bad idea for Trump, because he lacks all self-control,” he told a Fox interviewer.