Donald J. Trump will start his historic journey through the New York State court system like thousands of others who have been accused of a crime — he is expected to be fingerprinted, have a mugshot taken, and appear before a judge. In all, the process could take several hours.
But unlike other criminal defendants, Trump may be escorted by Secret Service agents who are required by federal law to be by his side wherever he goes.
Trump, who has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury for his alleged role in a hush-money payment to an adult film actress during his 2016 presidential campaign, is expected to turn himself in and be arraigned next week, when the charges against him will be unsealed.
An open question, according to the New York Times, is whether the 45th president of the United States will be handcuffed during his court appearance, as is routinely done for people charged with felonies. And if Trump is restrained, will his hands be cuffed behind his back or in front, as often happens for those accused of white collar crimes.
Hermann Walz, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former prosecutor in Brooklyn and Queens, said he expects the novelty of the case, and the security concerns presented by a former president who is again seeking the Republican presidential nomination, will accelerate the process.
“Let’s be real. You want this guy in and out,’' Walz said. “He doesn’t have to strip down and put on an orange jumper or any nonsense like that ... I think you are going to see some practical exceptions.”
When will Trump appear in court?
“We are working out those arrangements right now,’’ Trump lawyer Joe Tacopino said Friday on NBC’s “Today” show. According to multiple news accounts, the Republican will surrender to New York law enforcement on Tuesday ahead of his appearance in court.
What is Trump charged with?
The exact charges obtained by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr’s office remain sealed, although Tacopino said they relate to a “legal, very common confidentiality agreement that was signed years and years ago” by adult film actress Stormy Daniels, her lawyers, and then-Trump lawyer Michael D. Cohen in 2016.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign laws, has said he funneled $130,000 to Daniels and was reimbursed by Trump, who listed the payments as legal fees in corporate records, according to published reports and court records.
While misrepresenting the true reason for the payment is a misdemeanor under New York law, Bragg is reportedly alleging the payments violated federal campaign finance law, elevating the case to a felony because a second crime was committed, news outlets have reported.
Linking the state and federal laws is considered an novel legal concept that might not survive an inevitable challenge by Trump’s lawyers. Tacopino told NBC’s Today that federal prosecutors refused to charge Trump when the payments were made to Daniels.
“Somehow a state prosecutor who doesn’t have jurisdiction over the federal elections is prosecuting the case,” Tacopino said. “This was a personal resolution for a personal matter that would have been made irrespective of the [presidential] campaign. So with those facts together, there is no crime.”
Will Trump be jailed awaiting trial?
No. New York amended its bail laws in 2020 and judges cannot impose cash bail on people who are charged with non-violent felonies, according to the Data Collective for Justice and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Trump is expected to face some felony counts but just how many and for what won’t be known until the court records unsealed next week.
Who is prosecuting Trump?
Alvin L. Bragg Jr. was elected Manhattan district attorney in 2022 as a progressive who wanted to reduce prosecutions of non-violent crimes and instead focus on gun cases and serious crime.
Bragg is a 1994 graduate of Harvard University and a 1999 Harvard Law School, according to his office biography, and has pursued white-collar criminals during his legal career as a state and federal prosecutor.
Trump, his lawyers, and Republican politicians have accused Bragg, a Democrat, of using his prosecutorial power as a political weapon by choosing to investigate payments Trump made in 2016.
Bragg inherited the investigation and a separate inquiry into tax fraud by the Trump Organization from his predecessor. Bragg was initially skeptical of the bookkeeping case, but last year the Trump Organization was convicted of 17 counts of tax fraud and other financial crimes.
“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level,” Trump said in a statement.
Jeremiah Manion of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.