Trump set to be arrested and appear in New York criminal court

Donald Trump is set to appear in criminal court in New York City on Tuesday to be arraigned on dozens of charges related to hush money payments — the first time in American history a former president will face criminal charges.

Trump is expected to appear at the courthouse at 100 Centre St. in lower Manhattan around noon ET for fingerprinting and processing and to go before Judge Juan Merchan to enter a plea of not guilty around 2 p.m.

Security was high in the courthouse and nearby areas as the police department, court officers and the Secret Service braced for protests amid the unprecedented arraignment of a former president. Lines formed outside the courthouse overnight as possible spectators camped out to get a seat inside.

Trump called for “protests” in the event of his arrest last month, and he later ratcheted up his rhetoric, warning of “potential death and destruction” if he was charged criminally. He continued to post overnight on his social media site Truth Social, leveling criticism at the prosecutor.

We are prepared,” Mayor Eric Adams told reporters at a news conference Monday.

A grand jury voted to indict Trump, 76, last week. The exact charges will be unsealed at the arraignment; two sources familiar with the matter have said Trump faces about 30 counts relating to allegations of document fraud connected to hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Under a 2019 New York state law Trump as president criticized as being too soft on crime, the charges he’s believed to face don’t qualify for bail because they’re nonviolent offenses. Legal experts said the judge could restrict Trump’s travel but is unlikely to do so because he’s running for president and isn’t considered a flight risk.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, calling the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office a “witch hunt” and accusing the Democratic DA, Alvin Bragg, of being a “racist.”

Trump wrote Monday on his social media website, Truth Social, that he didn’t believe he could get a fair trial in Manhattan, where he lived for decades and made his name before he moved to Florida during his presidency. The actions at the center of the investigations took place in New York, where Trump’s campaign was also headquartered at the time.

“The Corrupt D.A. has no case,” he wrote. “What he does have is a venue where it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to get a Fair Trial (it must be changed!)”

He also called for a new judge to preside over the case, saying he believes Merchan is “Trump Hating.” He “must be changed!” Trump wrote on his website. He has also said Merchan — who presided over last year’s criminal trial against the Trump Organization and its former chief financial officer, which led to multiple convictions — was “hand-picked” by Bragg.

Court officials have said that Merchan was randomly assigned to oversee the grand jury investigation and that judges who supervise such probes generally try any cases that come out of the grand jury.

The DA’s investigation centered on hush money payments made ahead of the 2016 election to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. He has denied the affairs and any wrongdoing.

Michael Cohen, then Trump’s lawyer, paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in the closing days of the campaign. He has said he made the payment at Trump’s direction, and Trump had acknowledged repaying Cohen through payments that were labeled as legal expenses.

Prosecutors also questioned witnesses about allegations that $150,000 in hush money was previously paid to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, two sources familiar with the Manhattan grand jury’s work have said.

Cohen — who testified before the grand jury — acknowledged he was involved in both payments in a guilty plea in Manhattan federal court in 2018.

Trump has other legal problems on the horizon.

He faces a trial on civil rape and defamation claims brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll in nearby Manhattan federal court beginning on April 25. A $250 million lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general’s office alleging he, his family and his company grossly overstated his net worth to the tune of billions of dollars is scheduled to go to trial in October. He has denied wrongdoing in both cases, and he called Carroll’s allegations that he raped her in a New York City department store in the mid 1990s a “hoax.”

Trump is also the subject of at least three other criminal probes. Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating whether he and his allies coordinated attempts to alter the outcome of the 2020 election in the state.

Special counsel Jack Smith, meanwhile, is overseeing dual probes into Trump’s actions around the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and his failure to comply with a Justice Department subpoena demanding the return of government documents and alleging possible mishandling of the documents.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all three probes and maintains he’s being unfairly persecuted for political reasons.

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