As Blavity previously reported, Donald Trump recently became the first criminally indicted sitting or former United States president. Now that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has successfully obtained criminal charges against Trump from a grand jury, the former president must appear in New York to be booked and arraigned. Here are five things to watch for as this unprecedented set of events unfolds.
A private entrance or a public “perp walk” for Trump?
It is unclear how big of a spectacle it will be when Trump arrives at the Manhattan DA’s office for arraignment. Some reports have indicated New York authorities and the Secret Service had been negotiating for a quiet entry to avoid a public scene or a security risk for Trump. Others have suggested Trump is seeking a public stage by engaging in a “perp walk” in front of cameras and spectators. However, at least one aspect of the usual “perp walk” will be skipped, as Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina has said authorities won’t handcuff the former president during his appearance.
Fingerprints and mugshot
While Trump is granted certain courtesies as a high-profile defendant and former president, he will still have to go through many of the usual procedures for criminal defendants. The process includes being fingerprinted and having his mugshot taken. Whether that picture becomes public remains to be seen. One of Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, has said she thinks Trump’s mugshot should remain private, and New York does not automatically release these pictures to the public. However, Trump himself may share his mugshot as a fundraising tool.
Charges revealed in arraignment
While news of Trump’s indictment came out in late March, we still don’t know the exact charges he will face; those will become public during the arraignment. In addition, while we know DA Bragg came into office pledging a broad-based investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization for financial crimes, his examination was thought to have narrowed on the “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels related to an alleged affair. But with sources reporting Trump is expected to face around 30 charges, it seems the charges could cover a broader set of suspected crimes.
Quick (but maybe not quiet) exit
Whether Trump will give a speech following his arraignment remains unknown. While a public press conference on the courthouse steps seems to be Trump’s style, the court may implement a gag order limiting what he can and cannot say about the case. Trump, who has already promised to give a speech from Mar-a-Lago, could likely push the limits of any gag order or claim he is being “silenced” by his political enemies. Since Trump will presumably be released after his arraignment, he is expected to return to Florida almost immediately after leaving the Manhattan DA’s office.
Hitting the campaign trail and possibly more courtrooms
Whether or not Trump is formally limited in his comments, he will likely reference the charges against him on the campaign trail. Trump has long tried to paint the various investigations against him as politically motivated. Many Republicans — including his rivals for the 2024 nomination — are currently backing this interpretation of events. Meanwhile, Trump faces several other investigations, including potential organized crime charges for interfering in the 2020 Georgia election and federal charges related to taking classified and sensitive documents from the White House after leaving office.
With these charges looming, Trump’s Tuesday court appearance might be the first of many for the former president. His continuing legal woes will thus likely create drama in the courtroom and on the campaign trail for a long time.