Trump's historic hush money trial: Live at the scene

New York, New York - Donald Trump made history during the beginning of his hush money trial in New York on Monday, as he became the first former US president ever to face criminal charges.

On Monday, Donald Trump appeared in a New York court for the start of his hush money trial, becoming the first former president in history to face criminal charges. His supporters gathered nearby.
On Monday, Donald Trump appeared in a New York court for the start of his hush money trial, becoming the first former president in history to face criminal charges. His supporters gathered nearby.  © TAG24 / Rey Harris

On Monday morning, as Trump was making his way from Trump Tower to the New York County Criminal Court building in Manhattan, he took to his Truth Social platform to share one more post moments before the start of the highly anticipated trial.

"When I walk into that courtroom, I know I will have the love of 200 million Americans behind me," he wrote, "and I will be FIGHTING for the FREEDOM of 325 MILLION AMERICANS!"

Though Trump insists the vast majority of the American people are "behind" him, the scene at a protest that took place nearby told a bit of a different story.

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Far-right provocateur Laura Loomer and members of the Young Republicans Club held a Rally for Trump Against Democrat Lawfare event at Collect Pond Park, located right across the street from the courthouse. TAG24 was live at the scene.

A flyer for the event called on MAGA fans to bring their flags and signs to show support, but at its scheduled 8 AM start, only one man stood in the center of the empty courtyard, with a giant flag that read "Trump 2024 Save America."

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Donald Trump supporters holding a flag that reads "Trump or death".
Donald Trump supporters holding a flag that reads "Trump or death".  © TAG24 / Rey Harris

After about an hour, a mix of people began to descend upon the courtyard, the vast majority of which were noticeably journalists.

But what the group of Trump supporters lacked in numbers, they definitely made up for in spirit.

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records in an attempt to hide hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair the two had.

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But his supporters and allies at the rally believe, as per their repeated chants, that Trump "has done nothing wrong."

Sherri, a supporter donning a Women United for Trump hat, told TAG24 News that she was at the rally because it was "important" for supporters to show up and fight for the former president.

"He loves us so much, and he is fighting for us... He's doing it for America," she explained. "He fights for us, and we fight for him."

While there were no moments of violence at the rally, there was plenty of anger to go around, with some supporters sparking chants of "F**k Joe Biden."

A number of attendees spoke about their participation in the January 6 Capitol riots, while one in particular sported a Proud Boys tattoo while acting as security for some of the events' MAGA headliners.

A Donald Trump supporter holds a sign that reads, "pin the tail on the jackass", and depicts a cartoon donkey with the head of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who recently led a separate civil case against Trump.
A Donald Trump supporter holds a sign that reads, "pin the tail on the jackass", and depicts a cartoon donkey with the head of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who recently led a separate civil case against Trump.  © TAG24 / Rey Harris
Anti-Donald Trump protesters hold a sign that reads, "No one is above the law," while calling for the former president to finally be held accountable for his alleged crimes.
Anti-Donald Trump protesters hold a sign that reads, "No one is above the law," while calling for the former president to finally be held accountable for his alleged crimes.  © TAG24 / Rey Harris
An anti-Donald Trump protester plays patriotic tunes on a flute while wearing a sign that shares critical sentiments about the former president.
An anti-Donald Trump protester plays patriotic tunes on a flute while wearing a sign that shares critical sentiments about the former president.  © TAG24 / Rey Harris

MAGA allies put on a spectacle

Far-right provocateur Laura Loomer using a megaphone to spark the chant, "Donald Trump did nothing wrong" among a small crowd of Trump supporters.
Far-right provocateur Laura Loomer using a megaphone to spark the chant, "Donald Trump did nothing wrong" among a small crowd of Trump supporters.  © TAG24 / Rey Harris

A handful of prominent MAGA allies did make an appearance at the rally, including Laura Loomer, Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew Giuliani, Marjorie Taylor Greene's boyfriend Brian Glenn, and George Santos' former director of operations Vish Burra.

Loomer spent much of the event belting from a megaphone, as MTG did before her back when Trump was indicted in the case last year.

At one point, she spotted CNN host Kaitlin Collins, and followed her through the courtyard to press her into admitting the judge in the case should recuse himself.

A Trump impersonator also made an appearance, handing out Chick-fil-A sandwiches, playfully trolling the MAGA allies who played along in good spirit.

Vish Burra, the former director of operations for George Santos, speaking with a Donald Trump impersonator.
Vish Burra, the former director of operations for George Santos, speaking with a Donald Trump impersonator.  © TAG24 / Rey Harris

Where does the Trump trial go from here?

Monday marked the first day of the trial and the beginning of jury selection, a process which is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

After the jury is selected and properly vetted, the trial will officially kick off, and is expected to run for up to six weeks.

As per New York state law, Trump is required to attend every court date, which will keep him from campaigning for several weeks to come.

Cover photo: TAG24 / Rey Harris

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