At 2:15pm, the Court Appearance to End All Court Appearances


Donald Trump arrived at Trump Tower after flying from Florida to New York Monday, and he’ll spend the night at his residence there before turning himself in to face criminal charges. His arraignment at a Manhattan courtroom is scheduled for 2:15pm Tuesday, reports NPR, which is among the outlets taking a look at what the day will hold:

  • No, you can’t watch: Multiple media outlets filed motions seeking to record the hearing, but Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday opposed allowing cameras in, ABC News reports. “It will create a circus-like atmosphere at the arraignment, raise unique security concerns, and is inconsistent with President Trump’s presumption of innocence,” a Trump lawyer argues. The judge in the case ruled the hearing cannot be broadcast and neither cellphones nor laptops can be used in the courtroom, but that still photographs can be taken of Trump in the hallway before the arraignment starts, CNN and NBC News report. (New York typically does not allow cameras in courtrooms; more on that below.)
  • What are the charges? Sources tell ABC Trump faces about two dozen charges, some of them felonies, related to the hush money paid to Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The charges won’t be unsealed until the arraignment. The former president will plead not guilty, his lawyers have said.
  • What is an arraignment? PBS is among the outlets offering an explainer, and it notes that an arraignment is generally the first court appearance a person makes, and is when they appear before a judge to hear the charges against them and be informed of their rights. The appearance before the judge is expected to last about 15 minutes. A defendant enters their plea, and also typically completes paperwork and has their photograph and fingerprints taken, behind closed doors. Since the charges he faces don’t require bail to be set in New York, Trump will likely then be allowed to leave the courtroom; in the unlikely occurrence the judge did decide to order him held with or without bail, his lawyers would strenuously fight that.
  • No handcuffs, no cell, yes motorcade, maybe mugshot: Trump’s lawyers say he won’t be handcuffed at any point during the process. He will be taken to court via Secret Service motorcade, Axios reports, and his Secret Service agents will remain with him while he’s booked. He’ll wait for his appearance before the judge in a holding room, not a cell. As for any booking photos taken, they typically aren’t released publicly in New York, but Axios says the intense public interest in this case could change that.
  • Will there be a trial? While that’s not yet clear, if it does go to trial, experts say a case like this would typically take as long as a year to get to that point—and Trump’s attorneys are expected to push to delay proceedings as much as possible, including by arguing he won’t be able to get a fair trial in New York so it should be moved elsewhere. They could also argue the statute of limitations for Trump’s alleged crimes has passed.
  • Will that trial be televised? New York has some of the most restrictive laws in the country regarding cameras in courtrooms, and they typically aren’t allowed. Some have called for that to change should Trump go to trial, Politico reports, but at HotAir, Ed Morrissey argues against that, writing, “Any Trump trial would be a sensationalized mess even without the cameras. Add in live streaming of the trial, with both sides already posturing for the media, and it will become a screaming circus that will crowd out everything else in the news.”
  • “Hail Mary”: In what the New Republic is calling a “Hail Mary,” Trump on Monday added “elite” white-collar criminal defense lawyer Todd Blanche, a former federal prosecutor, to his legal team.
  • Fundraising impact: The indictment seems to have boosted the fervor to donate amongst Trump supporters; he’s raised $7 million since it was announced, his campaign says. Indeed, sources tell Rolling Stone the former POTUS actually wanted a high-profile arraignment in order to most effectively galvanize his supporters.
  • Mar-a-Lago speech: Trump will give a prime-time address from Mar-a-Lago after flying back to Florida following the arraignment, and lawmakers Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene will be among those attending.
  • Mary Trump on the 24/7 coverage: RedState reports that even Trump’s famously anti-Trump niece, Mary Trump, has had enough of the second-by-second coverage surrounding Trump’s every move heading into the court appearance. “Seriously, CNN? Do you need to show us Donald’s plane taking off?” she tweeted. “The media’s insistence on covering every aspect of this man’s life to the exclusion of all else is one of the reasons this country is in such dire straits. Enough.”

(Read more Donald Trump stories.)