Donald Trump to appear in court to face criminal charges
Donald Trump is set to appear at a court in Manhattan for his arraignment over alleged hush money paid to a porn actress before the 2016 election.
Trump, the first former US president to face criminal charges, is due to be arraigned, fingerprinted and photographed this morning.
The arraignment, which refers to the formal reading of a criminal charging document in the presence of the defendant, marks Trump’s first appearance in court and first in front of a judge in the case.
The 76-year-old will appear at the Manhattan court at 6.30am local time (11.30am UK time) on Tuesday.
The case is set to be heard at 2.15pm US time (7.15pm UK time) but it is thought it could take place earlier.
The former president is due to be back at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, at 8.15pm local time on Tuesday (1.15am UK time on Wednesday) where he will address the media.
His lawyers have said he will enter a plea of not guilty.
The specific charges included in the grand jury indictment have not been disclosed.
New York police began erecting barricades along the edge of the pavements around Trump Tower and the Manhattan criminal court building on Monday.
Demonstrations are expected at those sites and police have said they will be prepared.
“Officers have been placed on alert and the department remains ready to respond as needed and will ensure everyone is able to peacefully exercise their rights,” the New York Police Department said in a statement.
Other courts on higher floors of the building will be shut down before the arraignment as part of the security precautions, a court official said.
Before the indictment, the grand jury heard evidence about a $130,000 (£105,000) payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels allegedly made in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Ms Daniels has said she was paid to keep silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006.
Trump denies the encounter.
Trump served as president from 2017 to 2021 and in November launched a bid to regain the presidency in 2024, aiming to deny Democratic President Joe Biden a second term in office.
Word of the indictment, arising from an investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg surfaced last Thursday.
Trump has said he is innocent and he and his allies have portrayed the charges as politically motivated.
Mr Bragg is a Democrat.
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The New York case is just one of many probes facing the Republican as he makes another run at the White House.
A prosecutor in Georgia is investigating Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in that state.
The US Justice Department is investigating both Trump’s actions in the 2020 election and his retention of highly classified documents after departing the White House in 2021.
Joe Tacopina, a Trump lawyer, said the Secret Service, which protects former presidents, has a role to play on Tuesday, adding it was unlikely Trump would be paraded in front of the media due to security concerns.
“I honestly don’t know how this is going to go – hopefully as smoothly as possible – and then we begin the battle to right this wrong,” Mr Tacopina told CNN.
He added that Trump’s lawyers will “dissect” the indictment once it is made public and will look at “every potential issue” to challenge.
He said he anticipated making a motion to dismiss the charges at some point.
Trump is expected to appear before Judge Juan Merchan, who also presided over a criminal trial last year in which Trump’s real estate company was convicted of tax fraud. Trump himself was not charged in that case.