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Trump at Courthouse for Arraignment


Protesters argue across the street from the Manhattan District Attorney's office in New York, April 4, 2023.
Protesters argue across the street from the Manhattan District Attorney's office in New York, April 4, 2023.

UPDATED AGAIN WITH TRUMP ARRIVAL: NEW YORK - Donald Trump, the ex-president and frontrunner to be Republican nominee in 2024, has arrived at the New York City courthouse where he will be formally criminally charged, in a watershed moment ahead of next year's presidential election.

NEW YORK - Former President Donald Trump arrived Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse ahead of his arraignment on criminal charges stemming from a hush money payment to a porn actor during his 2016 campaign.

Trump pumped his fist as he exited Trump Tower minutes earlier, then traveled in an eight-car motorcade down a highway along the East River to the downtown courthouse.

The booking and appearance before Judge Juan Merchan should be relatively brief — though hardly routine — as Trump learns the charges against him. Trump will plead not guilty, according to his lawyers, and is expected to enter the plea himself, as is standard in the court.

Trump was indicted last week, becoming the first sitting or former president to face criminal charges, over a case involving a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels concealed as legal fees.

This, ahead of next year's presidential election, in which the former president has declared another run for the White House.

"Today (Tuesday) is the day that a ruling political party ARRESTS its leading opponent for having committed NO CRIME," Trump, who flew to New York from his Florida home on Monday, said in a fundraising email sent out on Tuesday morning.

Inside the Manhattan courtroom, prosecutors led by New York’s district attorney, Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, are expected to unseal the indictment issued last week by a grand jury. This is when Trump and his defense lawyers will get their first glimpse of the precise allegations against him.

The indictment contains multiple charges of falsifying business records, including at least one felony offense, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press last week.

After the arraignment, Trump is expected to be released by authorities because the charges against him don’t require that bail be set.

As for the former president's visibility Tuesday, Trump's lawyers opposed videography, photography and radio coverage, saying it would "exacerbate an already almost circus-like atmosphere around this case.

Judge Juan Merchan late on Monday ruled that five photographers will be admitted before the arraignment starts to take pictures for several minutes until they must stop, with cameras allowed in the hallways of the building.

Outside the courtroom, a confrontration between Trump supporters and opponents turned into a loud shouting match Tuesday ahead of the former president's arrival.

The District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, who led the investigation, will give a news conference in the afternoon following Trump's arraignment.

Trump will return to Florida and deliver remarks from Mar-a-Lago at 0015 GMT on Wednesday, his office said.

Florida Trump supporters began gathering while the sun was still rising at a West Palm Beach shopping center on the way to the airport, hours before the former president was set to pass along the route.

Hordes of reporters, police and barriers greeted Donald Trump when he arrived at his Manhattan residence Monday.

Just before midday, authorities closed off Trump Tower to the public, as a heavy police presence and barricades surrounded the building situated on Fifth Avenue.

This report was sourced from Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. will be updating this story as events unfold.