The criminal charges brought against Donald Trump are part of a wider political witch hunt in an attempt to discredit his candidacy for next year’s presidential election, the former U.S. president told supporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Tuesday evening, just hours after his New York courthouse appearance.
Trump uttered just nine words during his 45-minute court hearing in Manhattan’s criminal court — two of which were “not guilty” — as he responded to the 34 felony charges, including accusations the former president falsified business records to conceal a violation of election laws.
However, a transformed Trump soon returned to the campaign trail, returning to his Florida estate immediately after the hearing to unleash his wrath on the political regime he claims is using the law to derail his chances of returning to the White House.
“I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” he told an audience of family, political allies, and his most fervent supporters.
“The only crime that I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it. This fake case was brought only to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election, and it should be dropped immediately,” he told the crowd.
“They can’t beat us at the ballot box so they try and beat us through the law. That’s the country in which we live however right now. The USA is a mess, and with a very dark cloud over our beloved country.”
He added that despite the ongoing legal proceedings, he remains confident that he will be able to “make America great again.”
Alvin Bragg, Manhattan’s district attorney, remained equally defiant after the hearing, telling a press conference: “34 false statements made to cover up other crimes. These are felony crimes in New York State, no matter who you are. We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct.”
It is understood that Trump has attempted to relocate the hearing outside of Manhattan to Staten Island for fear that he will not receive a fair trial in the district, which he says is overwhelming pro-Democrat.
Any criminal trial could be at least a year away, which could cause serious complications should Trump win the Republican nomination to contest the next presidential election scheduled for Nov. 5, 2024.