Donald Trump indicted: Judge rules no video cameras allowed in court for arraignment

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Members of media gather outside Trump Tower in New York, Monday, April. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura) Yuki Iwamura/AP

Donald Trump indicted: Judge rules no video cameras allowed in court for arraignment

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In an early victory for former President Donald Trump, the New York judge presiding over his criminal case ruled no video cameras will be allowed in the courtroom where Trump is arraigned on Tuesday.

State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan made the ruling on Monday night, allowing just five pool photographers “to take still photos for several minutes” before the proceedings officially begin at 2:15 p.m Tuesday. It is unclear whether those photos would capture Trump in court or just the setting beforehand.

DONALD TRUMP INDICTED: FORMER PRESIDENT WILL BE CHARGED WITH 34 FELONY COUNTS TUESDAY: REPORT

In addition to professional video cameras, cellphones, laptops, and other electronic devices are also not allowed in the courtrooms, per Merchan’s order. Cameras are, however, permitted in the hallways of the building.

“That this indictment involves a matter of monumental significance cannot possibly be disputed. Never in the history of the United States has a sitting or past President been indicted on criminal charges. Mr. Trump’s arraignment has generated unparalleled public interest and media attention,” the judge wrote. “The populace rightly hungers for the most accurate and current information available. To suggest otherwise would be disingenuous.”

The ruling comes after Trump’s attorneys urged Merchan to deny a request by media outlets to allow cameras in the Manhattan courtroom, saying it would “create a circus-like atmosphere at the arraignment, raise unique security concerns, and is inconsistent with President Trump’s presumption of innocence.”

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, which is prosecuting Trump for his alleged $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election, issued its own letter to the judge Monday that did not take a position on whether cameras should be in the courtroom. The letter was written by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Colangelo and noted “even if cameras are not categorically barred,” judges have the discretion to “control the conduct of judicial proceedings.”

Yahoo News reported Monday night that Trump will be arrested and charged with 34 felony counts for falsification of business records on Tuesday when he is arraigned, but he is not expected to be placed in handcuffs or given a mug shot. These charges are believed to be related to the alleged hush money payment.

Merchan oversaw the Manhattan grand jury that indicted Trump last week. The New York judge also has a history of overseeing Trump-related cases.

Merchan presided over the case and trial of the Trump Organization and former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, which found the defendants guilty of 17 counts of tax fraud and falsifying business records. The judge is also hearing a case regarding former Trump aide Steve Bannon involving fraud and money laundering charges related to a charity set up to help fund the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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The streets outside the courthouse on Tuesday will be inundated with cameras from a variety of news outlets. Trump will likely enter the building through the back but could decide to exit through the front doors, sources told Fox News.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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