Former president Donald Trump
Former president Donald Trump after speaking at a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023, in Waco, Tex. Image Credit: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

Washington: Former US President Donald Trump will speak in Florida on Tuesday evening, his office said, after his arraignment in New York City on historic charges brought after an investigation into a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump is expected to be arraigned, fingerprinted and photographed in a New York courthouse on Tuesday afternoon as he becomes the first former president to face criminal charges.

Joe Tacopina, a Trump lawyer, told CNN’s “State of the Union” programme on Sunday that it was likely his defence attorneys will move to dismiss the charges, after they see them.

Word of the indictment surfaced on Thursday though the specific charges against Trump arising from an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, have not been made public. Susan Necheles, a Trump attorney, said on Friday Trump will plead not guilty.

Trump, who has launched a 2024 campaign to regain the presidency, plans to fly to New York on Monday from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and spend the night at Trump Tower before appearing in court on Tuesday, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

The former president plans to return to Florida after the court appearance and will deliver remarks at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach at 8:15pm, his office said in a statement on Sunday.

The Trump campaign declined to comment on what he would say on Tuesday night. A source familiar with the matter said the Republican businessman-turned-politician was likely to focus on what he feels is his political persecution and “the political weaponisation of the justice system to manipulate an election.”

Trump is expected to appear on Tuesday before Justice Juan Merchan of the criminal court in Manhattan. Merchan also presided over a criminal trial last year in which Trump’s real estate company was convicted of tax fraud, though Trump himself was not charged.

Trump has lashed out at both Bragg and Merchan.

“We’re not doing anything at the arraignment because that would be showmanship and nothing more - because we haven’t even seen the indictment,” Tacopina said. “We will take the indictment, we will dissect it. The team will look at every, every potential issue that we will be able to challenge - and we will challenge.” “And of course I very much anticipate a motion to dismiss coming because there’s no law that fits this,” Tacopina added.

Ahead of the indictment, a grand jury in Manhattan heard evidence about a $130,000 payment to 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 in 2006. Trump has denied that this encounter took place.

The former president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said he coordinated with Trump on the payments to Daniels and to a second woman, former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump has denied having had sexual relationships with either woman, but has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a campaign-finance violation in 2018 and served more than a year in prison. Federal prosecutors said he acted at Trump’s direction.