The trial of Donald Trump may be held amid the presidential race, Yevgeniy Prigozhin threatens Russia’s leadership with a retreat of the Warner Group from Bakhmut, and the United States has dismissed Moscow’s accusations of being involved in the drone attack on the Kremlin as lies.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives lose local elections in the United Kingdom, and activists prepare to protest against the coronation of Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla in the streets of London.
offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the May 1–5, 2023, business week.
The case of the ex-president: Will Trump’s trial be held in the midst of the presidential race?
A month after the Manhattan district attorney’s office unveiled criminal charges against Donald Trump, the complexities of prosecuting a former president and current contender for the White House are becoming increasingly clear, The New York Times argues.
The hearing crystallized the delicate balance between treating the former president like any other defendant, and acknowledging the reality that he stands alone, as the first former president to face criminal charges.
John S. Martin Jr., a former federal prosecutor and judge, said that the reality of Mr. Trump’s role as a former president and current candidate could not be ignored. He said that Justice Juan Merchan, who considers the case, needed to think about when it might be appropriate to restrict Mr. Trump’s privileges as a political candidate.
In that context, even setting a trial date becomes fraught. Justice Merchan on Thursday asked prosecutors and Mr. Trump’s lawyers to decide on a date in February or March of 2024. That means the trial will likely take place in the midst of the presidential campaign.
The district attorney’s office asked Justice Merchan to limit Mr. Trump’s access to some case material and to bar him from spreading the prosecution’s evidence publicly, including on social media. Lawyers for Mr. Trump balked at that request, saying that any restrictions placed on their client should also be placed on the prosecutors.
On Thursday, Justice Merchan sided with prosecutors but emphasized that Mr. Trump would remain free to speak about the "vast majority of the evidence." Todd Blanche, Trump’s lawyer, responded by announcing that would seek to move his client’s criminal case from New York State Supreme Court to federal court.
Does Prigozhin withdraw his troops from Bakhmut?
The leader of Russia's Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, says he will withdraw his troops from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on Wednesday, May 10, the BBC reports.
His statement came after he posted a grim video of him walking among his dead fighters' bodies, demanding additional ammunition from top Russian defense officials.
"Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where is the... ammunition?... They came here as volunteers and die for you to fatten yourselves in your mahogany offices."
Prigozhin is a publicity seeker, and his influence has seemingly waned in recent months. He has previously made threats he has not followed through with — subsequently dismissing them as jokes and military humor.
The terrorist says that his forces agreed to stay in Bakhmut until May 10, so that Russia could celebrate Victory Day on Tuesday.
U.S.-based military analyst Rob Lee argues that Wagner's latest complaint of shortages likely reflects Russia's defense ministry rationing ammunition ahead of Ukraine's long anticipated counter-offensive.
The U.S. denied their involvement in the drone attack on the Kremlin
According to The Guardian, the White House has dismissed as "ludicrous" claims by Russia that Washington orchestrated drone strikes on Moscow.
Asked about an accusation by the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, that Washington had ordered Wednesday’s strike, John Kirby, the U.S. National Security Council spokesman, said:
"One thing I can tell you for certain is that the U.S. did not have any involvement with this incident, contrary to Mr Peskov’s lies, and that’s just what they are: lies."
According to him, the United States is still investigating this attack.
"We haven’t come to any conclusions one way or another," Kirby said. "We’re doing the best we can to try to find out what happened."
Earlier on Thursday, Peskov claimed the US had "dictated" the plan of what Russia said was a drone attack on the Kremlin intended to kill Vladimir Putin.
"We are well aware that decisions on such actions, on such terrorist attacks, are not made in Kyiv, but in Washington. And Kyiv is doing what it is told to do. It is very important that in Washington they understand that we know this, and understand how dangerous such direct participation in the conflict is."
The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and other Ukrainian officials have denied Russian allegations that Ukraine was involved in a drone attack on the Kremlin.
The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said earlier:
"The United States is certainly not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders."
The U.K.: the Conservatives lose many seats in local elections
The results of the U.K. local elections held on Thursday became a failure for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservatives following a year of political scandals, surging inflation, and stagnant economic growth, Reuters reports.
This vote will likely be the last test of voter sentiment before the next national election, expected to be held next year.
After about a quarter of 8,000 local councils counted their votes, the Conservatives were reported to have lost 235 seats, while the major opposition Labor Party gained 122 seats and the Liberal Democrats gained 63.
Sunak's party suffered losses to Labor in key target seats in the north and southern England, while the Liberal Democrats were advancing in wealthier parts of the south.
John Curtice, Britain's best-known pollster, predicted that the Conservatives would lose about 1,000 seats. At the same time, the Labor performed below what might have been expected, and smaller parties did better in local elections.
The full picture will become clear later on May 5 when most of the councils will announce their results.
"Make no mistake, we are on course for a Labour majority at the next general election," Labor leader Keir Starmer said.
Not My King: Protests in the U.K. against Charles III’s coronation
According to ABCnews, anti-monarchists are expected to stage large-scale protests in London on May 6 during the coronation of Britain's King Charles III.
Charles and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, will be crowned side-by-side at Westminster Abbey. London's Metropolitan Police Service said it would have more than 11,500 officers on duty that day, making it "one of the most significant and largest security operations" that the agency has led.
"Our tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low," the police force said in a statement on Wednesday. "We will deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration."
More than a thousand people will be protesting in Trafalgar Square as the royal processions pass by, according to Republic, a London-based campaign group advocating to replace the British monarchy with an elected head of state.
The so-called Public Order Bill came into effect on Wednesday. According to it, protesters who interfere with "key national infrastructure," such as blocking roads and railways, could face 12 months behind bars and a fine. The police will be empowered to stop and search protesters suspected of having intent to commit an offense.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk has urged the U.K. government to reverse the legislation.
"This new law imposes serious and undue restrictions on these rights [freedom of expression and peaceful assemblies] that are neither necessary nor proportionate to achieve a legitimate purpose as defined under international law," Turk said in a statement on April 27.
Graham Smith, the CEO of Republic, said that despite the restrictions, the group would protest in Trafalgar Square and along the procession route on Saturday as planned. Protesters will likely be holding yellow placards with the words "Not My King," as they have done at previous demonstrations.
"It is telling that Charles, who has had no problem speaking up on various issues, has chosen not to defend democratic rights when they are being threatened in his name," Smith added.
The anti-monarchy protest movement has gained fresh momentum in Britain since Queen Elizabeth II's death and Charles' ascension.
A new survey conducted by London-based polling company YouGov found that overall support for retaining the British monarchy remains relatively high -- at 62% as of April. But that figure is significantly lower as compared to the 2012 and 2013 level of 75%.