Fists Fly Outside Courthouse as Trump Trial Comes to a Close

“We want Trump, lock Merchan up,” supporters of President Trump chanted outside the courthouse as they chided members of the press and sparred with anti-Trump demonstrators as Mr. Trump’s criminal trial came to a close at downtown Manhattan.

Somewhere between two and three dozen supporters of Mr. Trump were gathered outside the New York County Criminal Court building on Tuesday, as closing arguments were delivered inside.

The crowd, featuring a diverse group of characters ranging from actual doomsayers to salespeople hocking merchandise to congressional hopefuls, baked in the sun outside the courthouse at Collect Pond Park.

One Republican congressional candidate from the Bronx, Tina Forte, carried a campaign banner at Collect Pond Park Tuesday afternoon, telling the Sun that she thought the Bronx would be a battleground in the 2024 presidential election.

Trump supporters in costume (with a couple preparing to be married in the background) throng outside the courthouse at Manhattan where his criminal trial was coming to a close. Russell Payne/The New York Sun

“There’s no main organizer, we just show up,” Ms. Forte said of the protesters outside the courthouse. “We will be here every day until there is a verdict,” adding, “I hope he’s acquitted like he should be.”

Ms. Forte, who also ran for Congress in 2022, is hoping to unseat the progressive firebrand who currently holds the seat at New York’s 14th District, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the leader of the far-left “Squad.” Ms. Forte says new district lines might help her win.

“I no longer have Co-Op City, I have the South Bronx where I am loved,” Ms. Forte said of one of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods, which is also among the most Democratic leaning in the country.

According to Ms. Forte, the Bronx will be a competitive battleground on the presidential level in 2024. She says if she doesn’t win there in 2024, that she will run for governor.

Trump supporters rally outside the criminal courthouse where President Trump’s trial was coming to a close. Russell Payne/The New York Sun

“If he doesn’t carry it altogether I think it’s going to be very close,” Ms. Forte said of Mr. Trump’s prospects at the Bronx. “They ignore us because we’re so blue.”

On Thursday, Mr. Trump held a raucous rally at the Bronx, at Crotona Park, in an attempt to showcase support among Black and Hispanic voters.

The crowd outside the courthouse was also rowdy Tuesday morning and afternoon, with some protesters even coming to blows after a supporter of the former president struck an anti-Trump demonstrator who was mocking a sign set up in the park by pro-Trump demonstrators, which pictured Mr. Trump alongside American heroes like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

The two-time Oscar-winning actor, Robert De Niro, who is a staunch supporter of President Biden, and two Capitol Police officers who claim they were assaulted by protesters on January 6 also held a press conference outside the courthouse earlier in the day.

Actor Robert De Niro departs after speaking to the media in front of Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 at New York City. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Former Capitol Hill police officers Michael Fanone and Harry Dunn are interviewed during President Trump’s hush money trial near Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
A religious protester outside the courthouse on Tuesday where President Trump’s criminal trial was coming to a close. Russell Payne/The New York Sun

One supporter of the former president, Dion Cini, who spoke to the Sun earlier in the trial, said that he expected the verdict to “come pretty quickly.”

“Hopefully they put him in jail,” Mr. Cini tells the Sun of Mr. Trump. “It’ll give us something to do that’ll make January 6 look like a nursery school. I can’t talk more about it because the FBI won’t like it.”

One Chinese-American demonstrator outside the courthouse, Stephanie Lu, said that she was demonstrating in support of Mr. Trump even though she was not “interested in politics at all.”

Ms. Lu, who is from Queens, said that she considers those who have been prosecuted for storming the Capitol on January 6 political prisoners and that she didn’t pay attention to politics until she first heard Mr. Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was illegitimate.

Supporters of President Trump carry an injured woman after an altercation at Collect Pond Park during his hush money trial near Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

“We thought we started to lose our country,” Ms. Lu says, adding the caveat that her opinions are not representative of other Chinese Americans she knows at Queens.

She was part of a small contingent of Chinese Americans demonstrating on behalf of Mr. Trump outside the courthouse Tuesday. Another demonstrator, who asked to be referred to only by her first name, Lily, tells the Sun that she hopes the court case will expose “how evil the Democratic Party is.”

“They hate Trump because they are jealous of Trump,” Lily tells the Sun. “This is not America no more.”

The modest pro-Trump crowd was outnumbered by members of the press mingling outside the courthouse, hoping for another press conference, and onlookers who came hoping for spectacle.

Members of the media are seen in front of Manhattan Criminal Court for President Trump’s hush money trial on May 28, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

After a second altercation, this time just a shouting match, police separated the bulk of the anti-Trump crowd from his supporters. Police were not able to confirm if there was an arrest from the earlier outburst.

One onlooker, William Randals from Southern California, tells the Sun that he is a tourist at New York and came to the courthouse in the hopes of seeing a historic event.

Mr. Randals says that, in his opinion, the most notable thing about the crowd is “how crazy the 20 or so crazy people are and how small the crowd is.”

“I expected more,” Mr. Randals said. “You can’t have a conversation with them, I tried.”

Supporters of President Trump gather at Collect Pond Park during his hush money trial near Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Mr. Randals said he didn’t think that the verdict would have any impact on Mr. Trump’s support, at least among his loyalists. He was skeptical that he would be able to drum up the support for another January 6 type event.

“It’s the same — for Memorial Day he called Democrats ‘human scum,’” Mr. Randals says, referring to a post Mr. Trump made on his social media platform, Truth Social. “I’m sure he’s going to try another Jan 6 kind of thing but if you look at the crowd there’s no way.”

Another anti-Trump demonstrator, Garry Feliciano, was attempting to proselytize to supporters of the former president. He tells the Sun that he’s concerned with the religious imagery adopted by Mr. Trump and his supporters.

“He’s using it for his own benefit and to lie to the crowd,” Mr. Feliciano says. “when he held the Bible up — upside down oh my god.” He was referring to a apocryphal claim circulated about Mr. Trump holding a Bible upside down at Lafayette Park near the White House after an anti-police mob was dispersed in September, 2020.

President Trump’s supporters and a counter protestor are separated by NYPD officers during an altercation at Collect Pond Park during his hush money trial near Manhattan Criminal Court on May 28, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Mr. Feliciano added, “He does not believe in God… He doesn’t care about anything.”

Mr. Feliciano says that he hopes that Mr. Trump is found guilty, but not because he wants to see the former president in jail. Rather, he said, he wants a demonstration that “no one is above the law.”

“I just want him to be held accountable and not be president,” Mr. Feliciano says. “What helps him is the media, the media constantly giving him attention, that’s free publicity.”


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *