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In the midst of a comeback, it is quite the comedown.

The courthouse in New York’s Bowery district – aka ‘Skid Row’ before its gentrification – has seen its share of society’s sad cases through the years.

A former president could hardly fall any further.

And yet its to this setting that Donald Trump will be brought for the common criminal treatment, notwithstanding a break with common criminal procedure.

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Stormy Daniels in Manhattan in 2018. Pic: AP
Adult film star Stormy Daniels is at the centre of the case against Trump. Pic: AP

The court process in lower Manhattan will include the taking of personal details and fingerprints. There will also a photograph taken, the ‘mugshot’ of the Donald in the frame for a felony, potentially.

Trump is said to welcome the prospect of a New York appearance.

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He wants the circus, believing it will cast him as the victim in an act of political aggression before an audience that’s sufficiently sympathetic.

It’s already worked for him. When he announced, prematurely, news of his arrest on his social media platform, his fundraising surged to more than $1.5 million.

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Trump says he is victim of ‘witch-hunt’

Trump being Trump stirs his support base, without doubt. But what he carries in close support he drops in those more distant.

The moderate Republicans and swing voters who turned their back on him in 2020, and at the recent mid-term elections, won’t necessarily be turned round by a candidate who is criminally-adjacent on a number of fronts.

Don’t forget that this particular case is the least serious that he faces, compared with investigations into the January 6th insurrection, the handling of classified documents and alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election result in the state of Georgia.

Trump’s claims of a political witch-hunt have found an echo among Republicans on Capitol Hill. Some of the party’s House committee chairmen have called for the prosecuting district attorney, Alvin Bragg, to explain before Congress what they call “a politically motivated prosecutorial decision.”

It is the mood music that plays in parallel to this New York case and, they might hope, the others. If Donald Trump can shake it off – and a number of legal experts believe it will be difficult to prosecute – he will undoubtedly portray that as supporting evidence of an overall effort by a weaponised justice system to target him politically.

It is the politics of justice and everyone, it seems, is having a say. In laying criminal charges, justice has begun to speak for itself.

In the meantime, America lives through history as it happens. Serious media organisations publish articles on the practicalities of a felon running the country, chin-stroking on how a conviction could impact on the operational capacity of the leader of the free world.

He is the unprecedented president, as ever.

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Three dead and five injured in shooting at US motorcycle rally




Three dead and five injured in shooting at US motorcycle rally

Three people have been killed and at least five injured in a shooting at a popular motorcycle rally in a New Mexico resort town.

The shooting at around 5pm local time on Saturday involved members of motorcycle gangs attending the 41st annual Red River Memorial Motorcycle rally.

It happened between two shops on Red River’s main street.

One of the victims died in hospital. Information on the extent of the injuries was unavailable.

The victims were transported to hospitals in Denver, Albuquerque and the nearby town of Taos.

Local mayor Linda Calhoun said the shooters have been apprehended.

State police did not provide any information about arrests but confirmed that the scene is secure and there is “no ongoing threat to public safety”.

Ms Calhoun said: “Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our local community.

“We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we work through this very difficult time together.”

Red River's Main Street, near where the shooting took place Pic: Google Street View
Red River’s Main Street, near where the shooting took place. Pic: Google Street View

Officials urged businesses in Red River to remain closed on Sunday.

The governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, said she was in contact with Ms Calhoun and law enforcement regarding the shooting.

“My thoughts are with the Red River community following this violent incident,” she tweeted.

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The mayor of nearby Taos, Pascual Maestas, issued an emergency proclamation placing the town under a curfew from 10pm on Saturday until 4am on Sunday with an immediate ban on alcohol sales.

Red River has a population of around 500 and is in the southern Rocky Mountains. It is around 75 miles northeast of New Mexico’s capital Santa Fe.

The rally draws around 30,000 people to the town every year.

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Mother pleads guilty to murder after six-year-old son starves to death in Arizona




Mother pleads guilty to murder after six-year-old son starves to death in Arizona

A mother has pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse over the death of her six-year-old son in Arizona.

Elizabeth Archibeque, 26, reached a plea deal with prosecutors this month and could face life in prison under the first-degree murder charge.

Her son, Deshaun Martinez, had been locked inside a small bedroom closet without food until he died in March 2020, reported the Arizona Daily Sun.

A post-mortem found the child starved to death.

When he died, he weighed just 18lbs (8.1kg) – which is well below average for his age.

The boy had a “skeletal appearance” because he had almost no fat on his body.

Archibeque was charged along with the boy’s father, Anthony Martinez, and his grandmother, Ann Martinez. The cases were being tried separately.

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The boy’s parents initially put their son’s malnourished state down to a medical condition and to taking diet or caffeine pills.

Eventually, they told police they kept Deshaun and his older brother in a closet in their Flagstaff apartment for 16 hours a day and gave them little to eat. The brother survived.

Police said the youngsters were confined there as punishment for stealing food while the parents slept.

Anthony Martinez. Pic: AP
Anthony Martinez. Pic: AP

The adults told officers that Deshaun had been in the closet for “about a month”.

Both Anthony Martinez and Ann Martinez reportedly have previously pleaded not guilty.

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According to the terms of the plea agreement, Archibeque will not be eligible for probation.

She will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

If she gets life, she will not be eligible for any kind of parole.

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Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy reach ‘agreement in principle’ on raising US debt ceiling




Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy reach 'agreement in principle' on raising US debt ceiling

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have reached an “agreement in principle” on raising the US debt ceiling, according to sources in Washington.

The tentative deal would bring to an end the months-long stalemate between the Republican controlled Congress and Democrat run White House.

Currently, the debt ceiling stands at $31.4trn (£25.4trn) with the new limit yet to be announced.

Mr Biden and Mr McCarthy held a 90-minute phone call on Saturday evening to discuss the deal, as the 5 June deadline looms.

Following the conversation, the speaker tweeted: “I just got off the phone with the president a bit ago.

“After he wasted time and refused to negotiate for months, we’ve come to an agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people.”

During a very brief press conference on Capitol Hill Mr McCarthy said they “still have more work to do tonight to finish the writing of it”, adding that he expects to finish writing the bill on Sunday, then hold a vote on Wednesday.

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The deal would avert an economically destabilising default, so long as they succeed in passing it through the narrowly divided Congress before the Treasury Department runs short of money to cover all its obligations.

Republicans have pushed for steep cuts to spending and other conditions, including new work requirements on some benefit programmes for low-income Americans and for funds to be stripped from the Internal Revenue Service, the US tax agency.

They said they want to slow the growth of the US debt, which is now roughly equal to the annual output of the country’s economy.

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Exact details of the deal were not immediately available, but negotiators have agreed to cap non-defence discretionary spending at 2023 levels for two years, in exchange for a debt ceiling increase over a similar period, according to Reuters news agency.

The impasse frightened the financial markets, weighing on stocks and forcing the US to pay record-high interest rates in some bond sales.

A default would take a far heavier toll, economists say, likely pushing America into recession, rocking the world economy and cause unemployment to spike.

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