NEW YORK – Demonstrators who want a Donald Trump indictment far outnumbered MAGA supporters Tuesday morning outside the Manhattan Criminal Court, where the former president is expected to be charged as early as Wednesday.
The pro-indictment protesters gathered in front of the building where Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is investigating Trump over a hush-money payment made to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“No one is above the law, ” the group of about 20 demonstrators chanted.
“Alvin Bragg do your job!” they yelled.
Despite Trump’s prediction Saturday that he would be arrested Tuesday and his call for supporters to “protest,” the courthouse was relatively quiet Tuesday as the grand jury on the probe only sits on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jurors heard what was believed to be the final witness Monday before they vote on an indictment.
Across the street from the anti-Trump rally, five supporters of the former president walked around holding signs including one that highlighted liberal billionaire George Soros support for Bragg, a common right-wing talking point. Trump has seized on a $500,000 donation to Bragg from a political action committee funded by Soros that was part of a nationwide effort to help elect progressive district attorneys.
“I wish more people had shown up,” said Trump supporter Philippe Lejeune. The 38-year-old New Jersey resident said he had expected more people to show up after Trump’s post on the social media platform Truth Social over the weekend.
By the afternoon, a few more pro-Trump protesters arrived outside the courthouse including one man dressed like the ‘QAnon Shaman’ who was riding a bicycle. The newcomers engaged in shouting matches with pro-indictment demonstrators, but the tension quickly died down. It was not clear if the pro-Trump supporters were sincere or performance artists.
“I am not worried about Trump supporters engaging in any violent activities. I am completely against violence. I am worried about ANTIFA showing up or anyone in masks and you aren’t sure who they work for,” Lejeune said.
An anti-Trump protester said she expected the two sides to remain peaceful.
“I’m not nervous, we’ve been protesting Trump since 2015. We’ve dealt with many of the Trump protesters. We disagree with them but our group is non-violent. We don’t escalate, we deescalate,” said Jamie Bauer, 64, who lives in Manhattan’s West Village.” Bauer said she is part of a small group of anti-Trump New Yorkers called Rise and Resist.
Tuesday morning, a non-credible bomb threat was made to nearby courthouses, including one where a hearing was underway in New York Attorney General Tish James’ $250 million lawsuit accusing Trump and his real estate firm of financial fraud.
“An anonymous individual emailed they would bomb different locations. but the threats were deemed illegitimate at the moment. Investigation is ongoing,” a law enforcement official said. The individual was granted anonymity to discuss a pending investigation.
The NYPD released a statement shortly after the email was received.
“While you will see an increased uniformed presence throughout the five boroughs, there are currently no credible threats to New York City. The department remains ready and available to respond to protest and counter protests and will ensure everyone is able to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights,” the statement read.
At least two more related events were scheduled for Tuesday — a march of MAGA supporters from Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan to the downtown courthouse and a separate small caravan of pro-Trump cars was expected to drive from Long Island to Lower Manhattan.
Police didn’t expect either event to raise security concerns.
Erica Orden contributed to this report.
Tracking Trump investigations
- New York indictment:A grand jury is soon expected to indict Trump on charges stemming from payments to a porn star, according to three people involved in the deliberations. The grand jury returns Wednesday.
- Fulton County and 2020 election:Trump’s attorney urged a state court in Georgia to prohibit an Atlanta-area DA from filing charges related to his bid to subvert the 2020 election.
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