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Former President Donald Trump meets with Manhattan bodega workers after 2nd day in court

Trump criticizes DA Bragg during visit to NYC bodega
Trump criticizes DA Bragg during visit to NYC bodega 02:45

NEW YORK -- Former President Donald Trump met with bodega workers in Manhattan after his second day in court Tuesday.

The former president was invited by the Bodega Association to discuss crime that they say is putting bodega and deli workers in danger. Trump told them he wants law and order, when he came there straight from the courthouse as a defendant in his own criminal trial.

Dozens of people lined the streets of Upper Manhattan on Tuesday as Trump waved his way into a bodega on West 139th Street, where inside he met with its owner and several other local bodega workers.

"We need more public safety and I really support that, anyone who comes to support the public safety, we really appreciate," Bodega Association President Francisco Marte said.

Watch Ali Bauman's report

Former President Trump addresses crime at bodega in Manhattan 02:46

Trump made the trip uptown from the criminal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, where on Tuesday, the judge swore in the first seven jurors in the case -- four men and three women with jobs ranging from corporate attorney to teacher to software engineer.

They were selected after several others were dismissed, including Kara McGee.

"Honestly, after seeing the other jurors read the questionnaire ... I actually do believe that he can get an impartial jury in Manhattan," she said.

After eight hours in court and about five minutes in the bodega, Trump maintained his innocence.

"There's no crime. You know where the crime is, in the bodegas where they come and rob them every week," he said.

See it: Former President Donald Trump visits NYC bodega 02:51

The bodega was the same store where, two years ago, then-clerk Jose Alba was charged with murdering a man behind the counter.

CBS New York was the first news station to interview Alba in 2022 after he was charged, when he said he was acting in self-defense. According to Alba, Austin Simon came behind the counter and started to fight Alba after Simon's girlfriend's credit card was declined. Alba then allegedly fatally stabbed Simon with a box cutter.

Alba said he suffered two stab wounds himself in the fight. He spent five days on Rikers Island until a judge lowered his bail.

After public outcry and further investigation, District Attorney Alvin Bragg dropped the charges against Alba.

"Alvin Bragg does nothing. He goes after guys like Trump, who did nothing wrong," Trump said Tuesday.

In a statement, a spokesman for the DA's office said:

"This matter was resolved nearly two years ago, and the charges were dismissed after a thorough investigation. D.A. Bragg's top priority remains combating violent crime and the office has worked hand in hand with the NYPD to drive down overall crime in Manhattan, including double digit decreases in homicides and shootings since he took office."

According to numbers from the Manhattan DA's office, shootings are down 39 percent so far this year compared to the same time last year. Murders are down 23 percent, and robberies are down 3 percent.

After shaking hands and speaking to the press for 15 minutes in Hamilton Heights, Trump left the crowds of local supporters and opponents.

"I think he did the right thing. By coming to support Alba, he actually showed that he even cares for the little man," Trump supporter Diane Rivera-Lopez said.

"He wants to say stuff about a Democratic city and crime is rampant and why are they chasing after Trump. The reason Trump is prosecuted is because of his own actions," Trump protester Bruce Hall said.

Alba was not at Tuesday's meeting. CBS New York was told he no longer works at the bodega and is currently in his native Dominican Republic and could not make it back in time.

Trump also said Tuesday that the New York case is forcing him to campaign locally, adding that he believes he has a good shot of winning New York in November.

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