Trump Urges Supporters to ‘Peacefully Protest’ as Trial’s Opening Arguments Begin

The former president issued the call on social media right before he entered the courthouse on Monday.

On the day opening arguments started in the so-called “hush-money” trial in New York, former President Donald Trump called on would-be demonstrators to “go out and peacefully protest” the case.

In a Truth Social post before he left for the courthouse on Monday morning, President Trump wrote that he wonders why pro-Palestinian demonstrators are allowed to “roam the Cities, scream, shout, sit, block traffic, enter buildings, not get permits, and basically do whatever they want” while pro-Trump backers are “rudely and systematically shut down and ushered off to far away ‘holding areas,’ essentially denying them their Constitutional Rights.”

“America Loving Protesters should be allowed to protest at the front steps of Courthouses, all over the Country,” the former president wrote on social media, making reference to demonstrators who have appeared in front of the Manhattan courthouse where his trial is being held. Those protests are “allowed for those who are destroying our Country on the Radical Left, a two tiered system of justice,” he added. “Free Speech and Assembly has been ‘CHILLED’ for USA SUPPORTERS.”


President Trump on Monday morning also made reference to leftist pro-Palestinian protests at New York City’s Columbia University, according to a separate post he made before entering the courthouse.

“Unlike at Columbia University where the Radical Left Palestinian Protesters sat on the Front Lawn, practically took over the School, and screamed, ‘Death to the Jews, Death to Israel, Death to America,’ and nothing happened to them, Lower Manhattan surrounding the Courthouse, where I am heading now, is completely CLOSED DOWN. SO UNFAIR!!!” he wrote.

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When entering the courthouse on Monday, President Trump again criticized the case during a brief interview with reporters. “I’m here instead of being able to be in Pennsylvania and Georgia and lots of other places campaigning and it’s very unfair,” he said.

A small group of anti-Trump protesters was seen outside the courthouse ahead of opening statements, chanting, “No one is above the law,” while members of the media and public lined up to get inside, according to reporters on the scene. It’s unclear if any pro-Trump demonstrators heeded the former president’s call on social media.

Police had discussed the possibility of closing the park across the street, Collect Pond Park, after a man who was later identified as a left-wing activist set himself on fire there last week, but on Monday it remained open to the public, including protesters. The self-immolator died over the weekend, officials confirmed.

Arguments Start

Last week, Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the trial, swore in 12 jurors and six alternates in the case, where the former president is being accused of falsifying business records to allegedly bury negative stories during the 2016 election. Arguments in the case, made by both the defense and prosecution, are expected to take place Monday, while the trial is expected to last about six weeks.

At the center of the trial is a $130,000 payment that his campaign made to former lawyer Michael Cohen to pay adult film performer Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, after she made allegations about a 2006 affair. President Trump has denied her claims, pointing to a written statement she made saying that no affair occurred, while his attorneys have said the payments were legitimate legal expenses.

President Trump has maintained the trial is an attempt by the Biden administration and Democrats to target their political opponents and weaponize the justice system. On Monday, he again wrote that it is “election interference,” while last week, he noted that he would have to sit in court every day the trial is in session when he could be instead campaigning in key battleground states.

The 12-person jury in Manhattan is set to hear opening statements from prosecutors and defense lawyers in the first of four criminal cases against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to reach trial. The statements are expected to give jurors and the voting public the clearest view yet of the allegations at the heart of the case, as well as insight into President Trump’s expected defense.

Hearing the case is a jury that includes, among others, multiple lawyers, a sales professional, an investment banker, and an English teacher.

To convict President Trump of a felony, prosecutors must show he not only falsified or caused business records to be entered falsely, which would be a misdemeanor, but that he did so to conceal another crime.

The New York prosecution has taken on added importance because it may be the only one of the four cases against the former president that reaches trial before the November election. Appeals and legal issues have delayed three other cases. In those cases—two of which accuse the former president of trying to illegally overturn the 2020 election and mishandling classified documents—President Trump has pleaded not guilty, too.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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