Former President Trump is set to appear in court on Tuesday to be arraigned after his indictment last week made him the first U.S. president — current or former — to face criminal charges.
Trump was indicted for his alleged role in organizing hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Now a 2024 presidential candidate, Trump is expected to turn himself in Tuesday morning before the arraignment later that afternoon. The exact charges he’ll face are still unknown, even to his own lawyers, as the indictment is sealed.
Attorney Joe Tacopina, who represents Trump, said a lot about Tuesday was still unknown, including whether the former president will be perp walked, but he did say he doesn’t expect Trump will be handcuffed. Others have suggested Trump will have to be fingerprinted and take a mugshot, but it is unclear if that will be made public.
When it comes to Trump’s surrender, Tacopina said he hoped it would be as “painless and classy” as possible. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office had reached out last week to coordinate Trump’s appearance ahead of the grand jury’s vote to indict.
The future of the case may also crystalize this coming week, including Trump’s defense.
“All the Tuesday stuff is still very much up in the air other than the fact that we will very loudly and proudly say not guilty,” Tacopina said, though he added his team is looking at a motion to dismiss after it sees the indictment.
“We will take the indictment. We will dissect it. The team will look at every, every potential issue that we will be able to challenge and we will challenge, and of course I very much anticipate a motion to dismiss coming because there’s no law that fits this,” Tacopina said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation focused on a $130,000 payment Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to buy her silence about an alleged affair with the former president, which he denies.
Cohen, who was jailed for his involvement in the hush money payment to Daniels, has said he expects Trump will go through the process of being fingerprinted and having his mugshot taken when he gets to the court. The indictment is expected to be unsealed during Trump’s appearance. Media reports have suggested Trump will face multiple counts based on a number of financial transactions.
James Trusty, another attorney for Trump, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “a lot of people are recognizing the blatant persecution angle that’s being pursued here,” noting other probes into Trump by a district attorney in Georgia and by the Department of Justice.
“It’s hard to creep into their minds and figure it out. There is a commonalty here which is they are pushing the envelope legally because they decided to target a man and try to put charges on him rather than actually follow evidence and begin judiciously as prosecutors like your ethics tell you to do,” Trusty said.
Trusty said he suspected the indictment would be legally frail.
“And in this case, it seems like what we’re guessing the indictment will look like is it will have legal frailties that will be subjected to a very legitimate motion to dismiss early on,” he said.
“So my hope is that despite some of the hysterics at the moment, despite some emotionality and frustration, the president certainly deserves to feel that this judge will do the right thing when he’s faced with significant legal motions,” Trusty added, in response to questions about Trump attacking the judge overseeing the case.
Ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled arraignment, which is slated for 2:15 p.m., Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is set to take part in a “peaceful protest” coordinated by the New York Young Republicans Club around noon that day.
“Protesting is a constitutional right and I am going to NY on Tuesday to protest this unprecedented abuse of our justice system and election interference,” Greene said on her personal Twitter account.
Trump is expected to arrive in New York on Monday to spend the night at Trump Tower before he is to go to court in lower Manhattan the next day. His campaign announced Sunday that he is set to speak from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida at 8:15 p.m., after his scheduled appearance in Manhattan earlier that day.
When Trump first floated his potential arrest in the case last month, he called for protests – echoing similar sentiments he made before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol – prompting concerns about possible violence in the streets, but no such demonstrations took place.
Still, ahead of the indictment, steel barricades were put up outside the Manhattan Criminal Court and the Manhattan district attorney’s offices.
After the indictment, the New York Police Department ordered every member of its force to report in full uniform Friday as “a precautionary measure.” The Washington Post reports that Secret Service agents have been involved in preparations for Trump’s Tuesday appearance.
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