PALM BEACH, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Former U.S. President Donald Trump addressed his supporters from his property in Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday evening, just hours after he pleaded not guilty to more than 30 felony charges brought forth by George Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
“I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” Trump told his roaring crowd of supporters.
“The only crime that I’ve committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it,” the former president added as the crowd cheered in agreement.
Continuing, Trump referenced that since the outset of his foray into politics, the Democratic Party establishment has been seeking to destroy him, whether it be through spying on his 2016 campaign, accusing him of colluding with Russia, bringing forth an impeachment trial, bringing forth a second impeachment trial, or having the FBI raid his Mar-a-Lago home.
Trump then accused Bragg of being a “radical left George Soros-backed prosecutor,” who is only bringing forth an indictment against him as a way of committing “massive election interference.”
To support this claim, Trump mentioned how Bragg previously boasted about filing over 100 lawsuits against him while serving in the New York Attorney General’s office, and how Bragg had effectively campaigned on investigating the former president.
“Our country is going to hell,” Trump lamented, before switching his tune to exclaim that Bragg’s efforts will fall short.
“Even RINOs and hardcore Democrats say there is no crime, and it [the indictment] should never have been brought [forth],” the businessman charged.
Going on the offensive, Trump said the true “criminal” in this situation is Bragg himself, “because he illegally leaked massive amounts of grand jury information, for which he should be prosecuted, or at a minimum he should resign.”
Trump also touched upon the state of the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) more broadly, for its apparent “pursuing of Republicans,” and its involvement in the censorship of the “Hunter Biden laptop from hell,” as revealed by the “Twitter Files” documents.
“We are a nation in decline,” Trump said as he approached his concluding remarks. “And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement. We can’t let that happen!”
Before exiting the stage, Trump signed off in signature fashion, stating, “With all of this being said, and with a very dark cloud over our beloved country, I have no doubt, nevertheless, that we will ‘Make America Great Again!'”
Trump’s remarks came just hours after he appeared in a Manhattan courtroom in front of Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan and pleaded not guilty to all 34 felony charges brought against him by Bragg.
During the arraignment hearing, Merchan had authorized a “limited number” of photographers be allowed to enter the courthouse, but rejected a request to permit photos or live video while court was in session.
Outside the courthouse, crowds of journalists, Trump-supporters, and anti-Trump protesters gathered, closely watched by a heavy law enforcement presence. Reports indicate that the majority of those present outside the courthouse were members of the media.
The first former U.S. president to face criminal charges, reports ahead of the arraignment indicated Trump would be granted special treatment from prosecutors, who had consulted with Trump’s Secret Service detail and court officials and determined they would not subject the 45th president to being handcuffed, jailed, or having a mugshot taken.
Trump’s much-anticipated arrest came after a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict the embattled former president in relation to alleged falsification of business records after reputed payouts to alleged hush money payments made to pornography “actress” Stephanie Clifford, known as “Stormy Daniels,” during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave Clifford $130,000 during the campaign to keep quiet about an affair she and Trump allegedly had a decade prior. Trump has denied that the affair ever took place, and even Clifford said in 2018 that the affair had never occurred, though she later doubled back again. Though now accusing Trump of orchestrating the payoff, Cohen previously said Trump didn’t reimburse him for the payment to Clifford, according to a 2018 letter obtained by The Daily Mail.
With the highly anticipated indictment now being unsealed, many legal experts, as Trump mentioned, have expressed shock at the apparent weakness of the case.
Specifically, lawyers from across the aisle have highlighted that the text of the indictment fails to even clearly state the alleged crime that, according to Bragg’s unprecedented legal theory, would turn potential misdemeanors for falsification of business records into felony campaign finance violations.
Lawyer and former GOP-turned-Libertarian Party congressman Justin Amash took to Twitter to explain that the indictment was even weaker than he had expected:
After reading DA Bragg’s indictment of Trump and accompanying statement of facts, I’m stunned any prosecutor would move forward with this. It’s even flimsier than we were led to believe. Thirty-four stacked counts, bootstrapped to an unstated crime, to manufacture felony charges.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 4, 2023
American trial attorney Robert Barnes also chimed in with his analysis, arguing:
The indictment is legally insufficient on its face. New York state law does not make it a crime to influence an election. Federal law does not make it a crime either. Maybe that’s why no law is actually cited in the indictment. Nor are the facts sufficient. #TrumpArraignment https://t.co/CbOj27v41v
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) April 4, 2023
On the political left, even a CNN legal analyst, former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Carrie Cordero, called the indictment “underwhelming,” and stated that the details of the case are not new, but have been known widely for the “past seven years.”
CNN Analyst: This indictment is “underwhelming”.pic.twitter.com/cvEAZZ1R18
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) April 4, 2023
While experts have questioned why the case was even brought forward based on the details of the indictment, others, such as defense attorney Marina Medvin, have pointed to the timing of the indictment and the potential political factors at play.
A criminal trial puts a man in jeopardy of losing his freedom, and in this case, puts the People in jeopardy of losing their candidate.
While the side effects of this prosecution might yield some benefit to fundraising, the jeopardy and potential of incarceration are an affront… https://t.co/aqTqRGjPZw
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) April 4, 2023
Bragg, who is notoriously soft on felony crime, has himself come under immense fire for his targeting of Trump, with maybe prominent Republicans suggesting his prosecution of the former president may be influenced by his reported receipt of $1 million in campaign contributions from the Color of Change PAC, a leftist advocacy group funded by prominent left-wing mega donor George Soros.