Trump allies join forces to hammer ‘sham’ trial ‘weaponized’ against 45th president: Political ‘persecution’

Allies of former President Trump, including former 2024 presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, slammed the ongoing NY v. Trump trial as a “sham” promoted by Democrats ahead of the 2024 election. 

“I learned a lot from being in there in person. It is one of the most depressing places I have been in my life,” Ramaswamy said Tuesday outside the New York courthouse. “But it is fitting because the only thing more depressing than the environment of that courtroom is what’s actually happening in there. It’s straight out of a Kafka novel. The prosecution’s main strategy appears to be to bore the jurors into submission. And if you look in that direction, sadly, it may appear to actually be working,” adding that the case is “politicized persecution.” 

“The whole case that [Manhattan District Attorney] Alvin Bragg has brought depends on one premise for them to charge this as a felony, is that Donald Trump somehow should have used campaign funds to make an allegedly personal payment. Yet if he had done that, their case against him would be even stronger. This is garbage. … It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This is a sham. This is not the United States of America. This is some third-rate banana republic,” Ramaswamy said.

Florida Rep. Cory Mills, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Ramaswamy, Donalds and House Speaker Mike Johnson joined Trump in court on Tuesday. A Trump campaign official told Fox News Digital that the supporters all volunteered to join Trump in court to support their friend and were not invited by the campaign.

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“There’s nothing that has been wrong here. Nothing that has been done poorly by President Trump,” Donalds said during the press conference. “The only thing that’s being done wrong is by this judge. His daughter is making money, raising money for Democrats, and all of the fundraising emails, and all the fundraising things are about this trial that his daughter is using. He won’t recuse himself. This is a travesty of justice. This is a misuse of the justice system.”

Trump’s legal team had previously demanded presiding Judge Juan Merchan’s recusal from the case, citing his daughter’s work as a Democrat consultant.

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Mills slammed the trial as “the weaponization of what was the Department of Justice” and Burgum called the case “election interference” that is “tying up the president [from] being out on the campaign trail.”

The allies who have joined Trump also include Ohio Sen. JD Vance, New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who attended the trial on Monday.

Trump is in court for his 17th day of the trial on Tuesday. The case focuses on Cohen paying former pornographic performer Stormy Daniels $130,000 to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged 2006 extramarital affair with the then-real estate tycoon. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.

Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and fraudulently logged the payments as legal expenses. Prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with the intent to commit or conceal a second crime.

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Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case and has maintained his innocence.

This week began with testimony from Cohen, who is considered the prosecution’s star witness in the case. The former Trump attorney detailed to the court that he spent his own money to pay Daniels $130,000 in order to execute a nondisclosure agreement and obtain rights to her claims of an affair. In October 2016, according to Cohen’s testimony, he told Trump that Daniels must be paid to quiet her claims ahead of Election Day the following month.

Cohen’s testimony also included how he secretly recorded Trump in 2016 regarding a similar payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who has also alleged she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which the 45th president has repeatedly denied. Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker purchased exclusive rights to her story to bury the claims ahead of the 2016 election, according to trial testimony.

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Cohen’s testimony comes after Daniels took the stand last week and told the court that she met Trump in 2006 at Lake Tahoe in Nevada during a celebrity golf tournament. She alleged that the pair had sex in Trump’s hotel room during the event, which Trump has repeatedly denied in public comments. Daniels’ testimony also included describing to the court how she got into the pornography business after working as an exotic dancer as a teenager.

Some legal experts have said Daniels’ testimony was irrelevant to the case and should not have been admitted into the record. Trump’s legal team twice moved for a mistrial, but was denied.

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Burgum added during the Tuesday press conference that while the trial continues, Trump’s allies will continue campaigning for the 45th president as Americans deal with spiraling inflation under the Biden administration.

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“We’re all here today because of the circus of this trial,” Burgum said in closing remarks. “But I want to say a word to those Americans out there that are dealing with Biden’s inflation and when their paychecks aren’t helping them get through the end of the month because they’re paying more for their gas and their food; they’re paying more for their electricity. I want them to know that while this trial is going on, there’s many of us around the country that are out helping campaign for President Trump to make sure that the message gets through.”