Former US President Donald Trump is set to surrender himself in court on Tuesday, facing charges related to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election. Trump, who will be the first former US president to face criminal charges, plans to plead not guilty to the undisclosed charges.
The former president will travel from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach to New York City on Monday and spend the night at Trump Tower before appearing in court the next day. The arraignment is set to take place at the downtown Manhattan courthouse at 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT) on Tuesday, and Trump will return to Florida that evening.
The New York Police Department has tightened security measures around the courthouse and Trump Tower, as demonstrations are expected at those sites. Trump’s lawyers hope to dismiss the charges, which were brought after a grand jury heard evidence about a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Daniels claimed she was paid to keep silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006, a claim that Trump denies.
Trump served as president from 2017 to 2021 and launched a bid to regain the presidency in 2024, aiming to deny Democratic President Joe Biden a second term in office. The indictment was announced after an investigation led by Manhattan’s Democratic district attorney, Alvin Bragg, which Trump and his allies have characterized as politically motivated.
Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, said he expects more details surrounding the arraignment to be resolved on Monday and that the Secret Service, which protects former presidents, also has a role to play on Tuesday. Tacopina said it was unlikely that there would be a “perp walk” in which an individual who has been charged is paraded in front of the news media, due to security concerns.
Trump is expected to appear before Justice Juan Merchan, the judge who presided over a criminal trial last year in which Trump’s real estate company was convicted of tax fraud. The judge has asked both sides to submit their positions on whether cameras and video should be allowed in the courtroom and will decide on the issue on Monday.
The tight security measures and the fact that a former US president is facing criminal charges have made this a highly anticipated and significant event in US politics. The outcome of the arraignment and the subsequent legal battle could have significant implications for Trump’s political future, as well as for the wider political landscape in the US.