What’s expected from Trump court appearance

Trump is facing charges over a hush-money payment to a porn star

Former US president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on April 3, 2023. – Trump arrived Monday in New York where he will surrender to unprecedented criminal charges, taking America into uncharted and potentially volatile territory as he seeks to regain the presidency. The 76-year-old Republican, the first US president ever to be criminally indicted, will be formally charged Tuesday over hush money paid to a porn star during the 2016 election campaign. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)

Donald Trump is to appear before a judge in New York on Tuesday to face charges over a hush-money payment to a porn star.

Here’s what is expected as the 76-year-old Trump becomes the first former US president to face criminal charges:

– Surrender –

Trump, who was indicted by a grand jury last week, flew into New York on Monday from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida to surrender to the authorities in New York.

Trump is expected to be fingerprinted and may also have a mug shot taken on Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse, but Joe Tacopina, one of Trump’s lawyers, said the former president would not be placed in handcuffs.

Heavy security has been put in place around the court complex where Trump is to be booked on charges that have not yet been made public yet.

Supporters of the former president have announced plans to hold a rally on Tuesday morning outside Trump Tower, where the real estate tycoon was spending the night.

A grand jury indicted Trump after hearing testimony from a number of witnesses about a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an affair she had with Trump in 2006.

– Arraignment –

Following his booking, Trump will be arraigned before Judge Juan Merchan, at which time he will be presented with the charges and enter a plea.

The arraignment is expected to take place at 2:15 pm (1815 GMT) and the charges are expected to be made public at that time.

The judge may set conditions for Trump’s release and schedule the next court date.

Tacopina said Trump will plead not guilty.

He would seek to have the charges dismissed without going to trial, the lawyer said, adding that there is “zero” chance the former president will enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors.

“President Trump will not take a plea deal in this case,” Tacopina told NBC’s Today show. “It’s not going to happen. There’s no crime.”

Trump is expected to leave New York shortly after the arraignment for Florida and plans to make an address at Mar-a-Lago at 8:15 pm (0015 GMT Wednesday).

– Jail time? –

While the criminal charges remain sealed, it is difficult to predict whether a potential conviction could see the unprecedented situation of a former US president being sentenced to prison.

The charges against Trump are believed to involve business fraud and campaign-finance violations, but whether they rise to the level of felonies — which carry potential jail time — is unknown for now.

Trump has no criminal record and whether he would be sentenced to prison in the event of a conviction remains to be seen.

– 2024 White House race –

Trump can — and undoubtedly will — pursue his 2024 White House run despite facing criminal charges.

Nothing in the Constitution prevents someone from running for the nation’s highest office while facing charges. Even if convicted, Trump would be able to keep campaigning and would not be barred from serving as president.

The 14th Amendment does prohibit anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding elected office.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection for the January 6, 2021 attack on Congress by his supporters, but he was acquitted by the Senate.

A special counsel is currently looking into Trump’s role in the January 6 assault on the US Capitol and a prosecutor in Georgia is investigating his efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election in the southern state.


© Agence France-Presse

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