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Former President Donald J. Trump recently sent an email to his followers after a tense day in his criminal trial in Manhattan with the subject line “I stormed out of court” despite leaving the courtroom calmly. In the email, Trump portrayed himself as a firebrand angry at perceived injustices in the trial. His campaign has been sending numerous emails and text messages to supporters that present a highly dramatized version of his actions in court. While the emails may contain some truth, they often exaggerate and omit details to support Trump’s claims of the trial being a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

The fund-raising emails from the Trump campaign also push the narrative that the charges against him are part of a larger “election interference” orchestrated by President Biden, despite lacking evidence. The Manhattan trial is overseen by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, who works beyond the Justice Department’s scope. Despite being under a gag order, Trump has continued to share his perception of the case. The emails from the campaign tout the support Trump is receiving from Americans who believe he is being politically persecuted by Biden and corrupt Democrats.

In Trump’s emails, he highlights his alleged grievances with the case, prosecutors, and the judge, portraying himself as barely able to contain his emotions during the trial. However, his actual behavior in court has been relatively restrained, with some minor incidents where Justice Juan M. Merchan admonished him for audible comments. The emails have repeatedly claimed that Trump has “stormed” in or out of the courtroom, a narrative that has been refuted by reporters covering the trial. Trump has also labeled his brief remarks to reporters outside the court as “emergency press conferences.”

Republican digital strategist Eric Wilson believes that the Trump campaign’s emails reflecting the trial are an attempt to deal with ongoing headlines about the former president’s legal issues. The campaign has tried to use the investigations against Trump to garner political support among his conservative base. Following indictments, Trump has seen a boost in popularity among Republicans and a surge in campaign donations. While the campaign claims to be raising approximately $1 million daily during the Manhattan trial, these numbers cannot be verified until finance reports are filed.

While Trump’s emails do not focus on the details of the trial or the case itself, they heavily revolve around the gag order in place. Trump recently faced fines and contempt charges for violating the gag order, with the judge warning him about potential jail time for further violations. Despite the judge’s reluctance to incarcerate Trump, his campaign immediately sent out an “emergency” fund-raising message claiming that “They want me in HANDCUFFS.” The messaging strategy employed by the Trump campaign aims to dramatize events and spin a narrative favorable to Trump’s political aspirations.

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