Trump likely to appear before New York judge next week, source says

Former President Donald Trump surrounded by supporters on bleachers holding signs saying: Witch Hunt. A sign on the podium in front of him says: Trump, Make America Great Again! 2024.
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Donald Trump is not expected to appear before a New York City judge until sometime next week, when he will be escorted into the courtroom under heightened security procedures that are still being worked out, according to a source familiar with some of the discussions about the matter.

The Secret Service has yet to fully complete a security survey for protecting the former president during his arraignment and to share its conclusions with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, the source said.

What it concludes and recommends (or demands) will be a major factor in how Trump is treated when, as is expected to be the case, he shows up in a New York courtroom to formally enter a plea to charges that in the closing days of the 2016 presidential election, he illegally paid off the porn star Stormy Daniels to keep silent about an alleged sexual affair.

Under normal procedures, a criminal defendant like Trump would be taken to a jail cell and incarcerated briefly before being fingerprinted, having a mug shot taken and then being escorted, usually in handcuffs, into the courtroom — the proverbial “perp walk” during which photographers and TV camera crews can have a field day.

Two NYPD cars parked in front of Trump Tower.
New York Police Department vehicles stand guard in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan earlier this week. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters) (Eduardo Munoz / reuters)

The perp walk is usually held on an upper floor, where the defendant is walked down a hallway into the courtroom, in an area where there is generally unrestricted public and media access.

How much access the general public or the press will have is likely to depend to a significant degree on the Secret Service’s position on the issue. Still unresolved are other issues, including whether Trump will be handcuffed. The stated official reason for handcuffing a defendant is that until a judge weighs in on pretrial conditions, it is needed to keep the defendant from fleeing. But, as the source noted, that is not a factor when the defendant is surrounded by a team of Secret Service agents.

On the other hand, Bragg has clearly signaled that he intends to treat Trump as he would any other criminal defendant, a position that would argue against giving him any special leniency.