Robert de Niro, January 6, First responders give depositions outside Trump’s hush money trial on behalf of Biden’s campaign.

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Robert De Niro speaks against former US President Donald Trump at a press conference outside Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on May 28.ADAM GRAY/New York Times News Service

President Joe Biden’s campaign appeared outside former President Donald Trump’s hush money criminal trial in New York City on Tuesday with actor Robert De Niro and a pair of former police officers in an effort to reorient the presidential race in the role of the former president in the January 6 elections. , 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol.

It was a sharp change of course for Biden’s team, which had largely ignored the trial since it began six weeks ago and now seeks to capitalize on its drama-filled final moments, sending the “Goodfellas” actor and the first responders who were in the Capitol on January 6. Biden’s campaign had been cautious about fueling Trump’s argument that his criminal trials were the result of politically motivated prosecutions, but ultimately decided to participate because his message about what was at stake in the election was struggling to break the barrier. intense attention in the trial.

A senior Biden adviser said they were not there to talk about the trial (and De Niro and the officials made no direct reference to the sordid criminal case), but to exploit mainstream media attention on the legal process. But Trump’s advisers argued in a dueling news conference that the Biden team’s presence validated the former Republican president’s claims that his prosecutions are driven by politics.

“We are not here today because of what is happening there,” Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler told reporters, pointing toward the courthouse. “We are here today because you are all here.”

The back-to-back news conferences were a sideshow to the main event inside the courthouse, where closing arguments were being held in the only Trump trial likely to come before the November election. There are two others directly related to the Republican’s efforts to overturn his 2020 loss to Biden, a Democrat: A federal case in Washington is related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and a state case in Georgia is related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. accuses of electoral interference. He has pleaded not guilty in those cases. The latest case involves allegations that he intentionally withheld classified documents after leaving office.

The Biden campaign last week released a new ad narrated by De Niro harshly criticizing Trump’s presidency and his plans if he is re-elected. On Tuesday he said he had joined the campaign because it was the only way to “preserve our freedoms.” “

“I don’t want to scare you. “No, wait, maybe I want to scare you,” De Niro told reporters. “If Trump returns to the White House, they can say goodbye to these freedoms that we all take for granted.”

The actor presented himself as the real New Yorker and mocked Trump’s history of sometimes fruitless business ventures and self-promotion, saying Trump sought to “destroy” the city.

“We New Yorkers used to tolerate him when he was just another shitty real estate hustler dressed as a big shot,” De Niro said. “I love this city. I don’t want to destroy it. Donald Trump wants to destroy not only the city but the country and, eventually, he could destroy the world.”

Former Washington, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone and former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn spoke about their personal experiences on January 6, with Fanone describing injuries suffered at the hands of the mob of Trump supporters who sought to stop Congress’ certification of Biden’s 2020 presidential victory.

“I came here today to remind Americans of what Donald Trump is capable of and the violence he unleashed on all Americans on January 6, 2021,” Fanone said.

The two former officers were also witnesses during a congressional investigation into the riot on January 6, 2021. Hundreds of law enforcement officers were beaten and bloodied in the attack by Trump supporters, who descended after a rally and crashed against the Capitol while Trump remained silent for hours.

“Americans need to wake up. This is not a drill,” said Dunn, a former Capitol Police officer who ran unsuccessfully for office in Maryland.

“We cannot count on these institutions to stop Donald Trump,” he added. “It will take us Americans to go to the polls to defeat him once and for all.”

Trump campaign staff held their own news conference at the same location outside the courthouse to respond to De Niro, Jan. 6 officials and the Biden campaign.

Trump’s top campaign adviser, Jason Miller, called De Niro – who won Oscars for his roles in “The Godfather: Part II” and “Raging Bull” – “a failed actor” and said Trump’s news conference Biden demonstrated Trump’s arguments that the trial, like the others facing the former president, was politically motivated.

“After months of saying politics had nothing to do with this trial, they showed up and did a trial-day campaign event in lower Manhattan for President Trump,” Miller said.

Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt called the Biden campaign “desperate and failed” and “pathetic” and said their event outside the trial was “a complete concession that this trial is a witch hunt.” that comes from above.”

However, although Trump and his advisers denounce the trial as politically motivated, he has been working to make the process an arm of his presidential campaign. He has seized on the trial as a fundraising pitch and has used his time in front of cameras outside the courtroom to criticize Biden and parade his own political supporters.