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BREAKING: Trump under arrest at New York court ahead of historic arraignment

Former US President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, will be formally charged on Tuesday in a watershed moment ahead of next year’s presidential election. Trump, 76, is the first former president to face criminal charges. He was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last week in a case stemming from a 2016 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Follow our blog for live coverage of his historic arraignment. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

The White House’s press secretary has declined to comment about Trump’s arrest in New York during her daily briefing.

“This is an ongoing case and we’re just not going to comment,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “This is not (the president’s) focus.”

7:50pm: Trump under formal arrest
Trump’s arrival at the Manhattan court means he is now formally under arrest and in police custody, awaiting his arraignment.

He is the first former or sitting American president to face criminal charges.

7:40pm: Trump says ‘surreal’ to appear in court to face charges

Trump said it was “surreal” to be appearing in court as he posted live updates on social media while being driven to the courtroom in Manhattan.

7:25pm: Trump arrives at Manhattan courthouse
The former US president has arrived at the Manhattan district attorney’s office to be formally charged. Trump was driven to the courthouse in a motorcade after departing his New York residence at Trump Tower.

Trump, who has said he is innocent and is due to plead not guilty, is expected to surrender to the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg ahead of an arraignment proceeding before Justice Juan Merchan.

7:15pm: What is Trump accused of?
The Manhattan grand jury that indicted Trump heard evidence about a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels has said she was paid to keep silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006.

Trump denies a sexual relationship but has acknowledged reimbursing his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for the payment. What has got Trump into trouble is how Cohen’s reimbursement was recorded in his accounts. He is accused of falsifying his business records by saying the payment was for legal fees.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance law violations and was sentenced to three years in prison. He testified in the Manhattan investigation last month.

Source: FRANCE 24

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