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Former U.S. president Donald Trump delivers remarks in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 4, after his court appearance in New York.MARCO BELLO/Reuters

Donald Trump suffered the courtroom humiliation on Tuesday of being the first former American president to be arraigned on criminal charges. But it was a good day – so say the legal experts – for him anyway.

The consensus was that Alvin Bragg, the New York District Attorney who brought 34 felony charges against Mr. Trump, may well have blown it. He brought in hardly any new evidence to bolster his case. It lacks statutorial substance.

Even Senator Mitt Romney, who has been Donald Trump’s enemy number one among Republican legislators – he voted twice to impeach him – came to his defence saying Mr. Bragg is guilty of overreach in grasping for “felony criminal charges in order to fit a political agenda.” D.A., he so much as said, is not supposed to mean Democratic Attorney.

John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, who had a bad split with him, agreed. He said he was “extraordinarily distressed” by the weakness of the indictment.

David Shribman: Trump court appearance a remarkable moment in American history

And so what was to be a day of unbridled joy for those wanting to see the man who disgraced the presidency be disgraced himself turned into something of a disappointment. Misdemeanour charges arising from the hush-money payments to adult-film performer Stormy Daniels could hold up against Mr. Trump but evidence for the felony charges was underwhelming. Pundits predicted that the indictments wouldn’t hurt his chances of winning his party’s nomination and that his base would rally behind him. His popularity might even increase.

But it’s premature to draw sweeping conclusions. While this case might not go far, it was evident from Mr. Trump’s self-pitying diatribe at Mar-a-Lago after the arraignment that he knows and he fears that the worst is yet to come.

He went to great truth-ransacking lengths in trying to claim he was innocent on all other investigations against him, several of which are more grave than the Bragg one.

The deluge in the months ahead includes possible indictments for ordering up vote fraud in Georgia, for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill mob attack, for obstruction of justice for mishandling of classified documents. It includes a New York case involving allegations of financial fraud against him and his family. It includes a trial scheduled later this month in a civil lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, a writer who has accused him of rape.

Not even Donald Trump will be able to dodge this many bullets. Should some of the most damning cases proceed, the cumulative impact will be too much to bear. Coming on top of the Bragg charges, they will drive a dagger into the dragon. His presidential campaign will be mortally wounded.

The Georgia case has a grand jury deciding whether he conspired to block the transfer of presidential power. Political crimes don’t get much more serious than that. In his Mar-a-Lago speech, Mr. Trump claimed a call he made to the state’s attorney-general who is at the centre of the probe was in fact “a perfect phone call.” Where have we heard that before?

The twice impeached ex-president sounded desperate. He labelled Jack Smith, the justice department appointee investigating the documents case and his actions regarding the Capitol Hill mob attack, “a lunatic special prosecutor.”

Risking the imposition of a gag order, he again attacked Mr. Bragg and also lashed out at Justice Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the hush-money case. ”I have a Trump-hating judge with a Trump-hating wife,” Mr. Trump claimed.

On the Bragg charges, he does not have to appear back in court until December. A trial, if there is one, could be pushed back beyond next year’s presidential election.

Mr. Bragg ran for the district attorney’s job with the announced purpose of bringing Mr. Trump to justice, thus feeding the perception among Republicans that he is biased. A fear is that the case he brought forward becomes the subject of so much derision that it will make it more difficult for the other cases to be viewed with the gravity they deserve.

The Trump arraignment day produced over-the-top media coverage, with film crews going so far as to film his 11-car motorcade proceeding for miles to the courthouse in New York and to his Florida estate.

With all the cases pending, Mr. Trump will continue to dominate the airwaves as he always has. He’ll be crying “witch hunt” every day of the week, as he has since becoming president. His people might continue to believe him. His problem is that judges won’t.

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