(BUCHAREST, Romania) — Andrew Tate, the notorious influencer detained in December by Romanian officials, made his first court appearance as a defendant on Wednesday after being charged with rape, human trafficking and creating an organized crime group.
Tate faces the charges along with his brother, Tristan, another internet personality, and two women, both Romanian nationals, prosecutors said. The court hearing on Wednesday was intended to establish whether they would remain under house arrest, or face a lighter form of judicial surveillance that would allow them to leave their Bucharest compound.
A decision on their detention is expected to be handed down Friday.
Neither of the Tate brothers responded to ABC News’ questions outside the court, though Andrew Tate did issue a short statement to the assembled media following the hearing.
Tate, who has amassed a huge online following and continues to be active on social media, thanked his supporters and said, “we are not the first affluent and wealthy men who have been unfairly attacked.”
“I also want to give a very special thanks to Romania and Romanian people,” Tate said. “The number of Romanian people who send me messages is absolutely fantastic. This is my home, I love this country, I’m gonna stay here regardless no matter what, and I look forward to being found innocent.”
Andrew and Tristan Tate, along with two women, both Romanian nationals, were charged on Tuesday with rape, human trafficking and creating an organized crime group, local prosecutors said in a statement.
No trial date has been set, and such trials can take years in the Romanian judicial system.
They have all been in police custody — first in jail, then under house arrest — for about six months as they awaited the full charges.
“Tate’s legal team are prepared to cooperate fully with the appropriate authorities, presenting all necessary evidence to exonerate the brothers and expose any misinterpretations or false accusations,” a spokesperson for the siblings told ABC News on Tuesday.
ABC News’ Dragana Jovanovic contributed to this story.
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