Trump slams looming charges at first rally since indictment news

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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci/AP

Trump slams looming charges at first rally since indictment news

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Former President Donald Trump denounced efforts by the Manhattan district attorney’s office to indict him, decrying possible criminal charges as being politically motivated to tarnish his reputation ahead of a crucial election cycle.

Trump lamented the ongoing investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as being “rigged” by Democrats, arguing the inquiry was being used to make him ineligible for the 2024 presidential election. The comments came during Trump’s first official campaign rally in Waco, Texas, on Saturday as he addressed supporters for the first time since reports emerged about looming indictment charges related to a hush money case that began during his first presidential run in 2016.

WATCH LIVE: TRUMP HOLDS FIRST 2024 CAMPAIGN RALLY IN TEXAS AS INDICTMENT FEARS LOOM

“Can you imagine that in order to prosecute and do everything he could to get rid of Trump because you know our poll numbers are through the roof,” Trump told a crowd of supporters on Saturday. “They don’t like it.”

Trump denied any wrongdoing in the Manhattan investigation, which centers on allegations that Trump paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual affair while he was running for office. Trump denied both the affair and the payments during the rally, arguing prosecutors “have nothing.”

“The Department of Injustice in Washington, D.C., was investigating me for something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, not an affair. I never liked Horseface,” Trump said, referring to a nickname he has previously used for Daniels.

Trump supporters gathered at the Waco Regional Airport on Saturday evening as part of the former president’s efforts to establish Texas as “Trump country” early on in the primary season before the GOP field gets too crowded. Trump touted his polling numbers in the Lone Star state that show Trump leading the primary field by at least 16 points.

The campaign event comes as Trump faces a possible indictment as soon as next week. If pressed with charges, it would mark the first time a former president has been indicted in U.S. history. It’s not yet clear what charges Trump may face, but reports of a possible indictment emerged earlier this month after his former attorney Michael Cohen testified before the Manhattan grand jury.

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Cohen was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to paying two women who accused Trump of sexual affairs to be silent, including Daniels. As part of the scheme, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 and was later reimbursed by the Trump Organization.

Manhattan prosecutors later opened an investigation into whether Trump falsified business records to list the reimbursement as a legal expense. Such a crime is a misdemeanor in New York but could be increased to a felony if Bragg’s office argues the fraud was intended to conceal a second crime.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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