Trump stops by Harlem bodega after second day of hush money trial

Former President Trump on Tuesday visited a bodega in Harlem after getting out of court for the day, highlighting how he’s seeking to balance his time as both a criminal defendant and the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

Trump stopped by the bodega, where supporters had gathered and greeted him with chants of “four more years.” The former president used the stop to attack the judge overseeing his hush money case, rip Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s handling of violent crime, and suggest his campaign would make a play for the solidly blue New York.

“We’re making a big play for New York,” Trump said of the state he lost in 2020 by roughly 2 million votes. “I love this city, and it’s gone so bad in the last three years, four years, and we’re going to straighten New York out.”

Trump placed the blame for the crime situation partially on Bragg, the district attorney who brought the hush money case against the former president.

“There’s no crime,” Trump said of the hush money allegations. “You know where the crime is? In the bodegas where they come and rob them every week.”

“Alvin Bragg does nothing. He goes after guys like Trump who did nothing wrong,” Trump added.

Asked what he thought of the jurors who had been seated so far in the case, Trump said it was too soon to tell, adding that he was looking for “anybody that’s fair.”

Asked if he violated the judge’s gag order barring him from attacking witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and the judge’s family, Trump said he did not think he had.

“No I didn’t. there shouldn’t be a gag order. Let me just tell you, the gag order is totally unconstitutional,” Trump said.

The bodega Trump visited Tuesday was where Jose Alba, a former clerk, was initially charged with murder after he stabbed a man to death in 2022 after the man had attacked Alba over a bag of chips.

Alba briefly spent time in jail before Bragg dropped the charges amid criticism that the killing was in self-defense. Alba has since sued the city over the incident.

While Trump is set to spend four days a week in court for the next several weeks, the stop at the Harlem convenience store reflects how he will seek to drum up media attention and get his message out even while he is on trial.

Trump and his campaign are expected to repeatedly attack Bragg for his decision to bring the hush money case at a time when New York City has dealt with its share of violent crime, though crime is down nationally since Trump left office.

In addition to stops like the one Tuesday, Trump is expected to hold virtual and in-person events on weekends and days off. He is scheduled to hold a rally in North Carolina on Saturday.

“They want to keep me off the campaign trail. But based on what I’m doing, I think there’s more press here than there is if I went out to some nice location,” Trump said Tuesday.

The former president is charged in the case with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to reimbursements to his then-fixer, Michael Cohen, who paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election to stay quiet about an alleged affair with Trump, which he denies.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and earlier Tuesday called the payments “legal expenses.”

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