Donald Trump arrest: Former president arrives at Manhattan courthouse for arraignment in hush-money case

APTOPIX Trump Indictment
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, Monday, April 3, 2023, in New York. Trump arrived in New York on Monday for his expected booking and arraignment the following day on charges arising from hush money payments during his 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Donald Trump arrest: Former president arrives at Manhattan courthouse for arraignment in hush-money case

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Former President Donald Trump arrived at the courthouse in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday to surrender himself to District Attorney Alvin Bragg before his arraignment is scheduled to take place later in the afternoon.

Trump emerged from Trump Tower just after 1 p.m. wearing a suit and red tie while pumping his fist to the crowd gathered outside the building. He then got into his motorcade along with his security detail to make the drive to lower Manhattan.

TRUMP’S GAME PLAN TO SLOW DOWN CRIMINAL CASE

Trump arrived at Bragg’s office at 1:25 p.m. to be escorted to Judge Juan Merchan, who will hand down the former president’s criminal charges. The streets were lined with dozens of journalists and Trump supporters in the hours before his arrival, with some camping out in front of the courthouse overnight.

Trump posted on his Truth Social account just minutes before he surrendered to New York authorities, calling the moment “surreal.”

“Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse,” he wrote. “Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”

Trump is scheduled to appear before Merchan around 2:15 p.m. in a proceeding that is anticipated to be quick and understated, as he is not expected to be placed in handcuffs or have a mug shot taken. However, the arraignment marks a historic moment as Trump is the first former president to face criminal charges — a precedent that has riled up much of his base, who decry the charges as being politically motivated.

The former president is expected to address reporters before he enters the courtroom, where he’ll make his first public statements since arriving in New York for his arraignment.

The scene outside the courthouse got particularly heated in the hours ahead of Trump’s arrival as a group of Trump supporters clashed with some counterprotesters, prompting a response from law enforcement. The group of counterprotesters held a large banner reading, “Trump lies all the time,” which caused a supporter of the former president to charge the group and begin ripping the sign.

Police were able to disperse the altercation and began conducting additional security sweeps outside the courthouse.

It’s not clear whether Trump will need to post bail on Tuesday afternoon. Merchan will make that decision after announcing the charges.

Trump’s indictment has remained sealed since being announced on Thursday, but it has been reported that he faces at least 34 criminal counts, including falsifying business records. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and has said he will plead not guilty.

Trump arrived in New York just before 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon before he headed to Trump Tower for the night ahead of his Tuesday arraignment. The former president released a statement on his Truth Social account just hours after his arrival, accusing Bragg of leaking the details of his indictment to the press.

“Wow! District Attorney Bragg just illegally LEAKED the various points, and complete information, on the pathetic Indictment against me,” Trump wrote. “This means that he MUST BE IMMEDIATELY INDICTED. Now, if he wants to really clean up his reputation, he will do the honorable thing and, as District Attorney, INDICT HIMSELF.”

Law enforcement officers in New York have increased their security detail around the courthouse ahead of Trump’s appearance, with Mayor Eric Adams warning protesters not to get too rowdy — specifically criticizing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who led a protest outside the courthouse on Tuesday.

“While there may be some rabble-rousers thinking about coming to our city tomorrow, our message is clear and simple: Control yourselves,” Adams said.

Greene shot back at Adams, accusing the New York mayor of using intimidation tactics to silence opposition.

“Delusional [Eric Adams] is trying to intimidate, threaten, and stop me from using my 1st amendment rights to peacefully protest the Democrat’s unconstitutional weaponization of our justice system against our top Republican Presidential candidate, President Trump,” she said in a tweet. “Should I be the one concerned that the mayor of NYC will weaponize his government or maybe his thugs like DA Alvin Bragg against me?”

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was also seen outside the courthouse hours before Trump’s arraignment began as he denounced the charges, noting it would set a dangerous precedent.

“What stops the next prosecutor in two years?” he told reporters.

Trump’s surrender comes after a grand jury in Manhattan voted on Thursday to indict the former president on charges related to a hush-money case that emerged during his first White House bid in 2016.

Reports of a looming indictment emerged after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified before the Manhattan grand jury multiple times earlier this month. Cohen was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to paying two women who accused Trump of sexual affairs to be silent, including porn star Stormy Daniels.

As part of the scheme, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 and was later reimbursed by the Trump Organization.

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Manhattan prosecutors later opened an investigation into whether Trump falsified business records to list the reimbursement as a legal expense. Such a crime is a misdemeanor in New York but could be increased to a felony if Bragg’s office argues the fraud was intended to conceal a second crime.

At the time of Cohen’s trial, federal prosecutors did not press charges against Trump due to guidance from the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. However, prosecutors revived discussions about possible charges shortly before Trump left office in 2021. They ultimately declined to charge him.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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