Dark blue suit, red tie, American flags behind him, Donald Trump seemed to react with annoyance, shaking his head, when the judge warned him. The former American president who appeared on Tuesday, May 23, by videoconference before the Manhattan court, was prohibited from disseminating, until the opening of his criminal trial for accounting fraud, certain elements of the file on social networks. , in particular the documents communicated by the prosecution, to enable him to prepare his defence.
A great specialist in all-out communication, Donald Trump could be prosecuted for contempt of court if he did not respect this obligation, Judge Juan Merchan told him. He simply answered "Yes" when the latter asked him if he had received a copy of the prescription.
Juan Merchan told the parties on Tuesday that the trial would begin on March 25, 2024, coinciding with the Republican Party primary, during which Donald Trump will face Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election appeared on a screen, from Florida, seven weeks after his physical appearance for his indictment, which had sparked a media frenzy and put the security services of New York on the teeth. The 45th President of the United States (2017-2021) pleaded not guilty to thirty-four accounting frauds related to payments to cover up embarrassing matters during the 2016 presidential campaign, including 130,000 dollars (approximately 120,000 euros) for buy the silence of an X movie star on a supposed relationship between them.
Juan Merchan also provided, for certain documents in particular, that Donald Trump could consult them with his defense but not photocopy them, photograph them or transcribe them. He is also prohibited from disclosing the names of employees of the Manhattan prosecutor's office.
The judge responded to a request from this prosecutor's office, which highlighted the former president's habit of virulently attacking the witnesses against him and the prosecutors who target him, such as that of Manhattan, the African-American Alvin Bragg, whom he called "animalistic" and "racist".
" Very worried "
One of Donald Trump's lawyers, Todd Blanche, told the judge that the former president was "very concerned" about a violation of his right to free speech. The judge replied that the Republican billionaire was still free to speak out on the case and campaign. But Donald Trump seemed exasperated when Juan Merchan asked the parties not to make commitments that could interfere with the trial.
This criminal trial, a first for a former American president, adds to other legal troubles for Donald Trump, 76 years old. He is also in the sights of justice for his alleged involvement in an attempt to turn the results of the 2020 presidential election in his favor in Georgia, and for his role in the assault on the Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021.
He was found civilly liable on May 9 for a 1996 sexual assault and defamation of former journalist E. Jean Carroll by a citizen jury that ordered him to pay $5 million in damages. interests. The ex-president appealed.