Donald Trump will be the first former US president to face a criminal trial, after he was indicted by a Manhattan court for an alleged illegal payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels. It means that, for the first time in US history, a former president will have to be placed in custody as is the case with all people suspected of having committed a criminal crime. Trump will be released immediately, but the event will still be historic in its own way, and will be closely watched in the United States.
Trump should undergo all the standard procedure of people in custody, but his lawyers will probably negotiate to obtain some more respectful treatments, also due to his role.
Immediately following the news of the indictment, which broke Thursday evening, Trump’s lawyers began negotiating with Manhattan Attorney Alvin Bragg about the terms and conditions under which Trump will turn himself in to the authorities (it is a common practice for crimes not violent). It is probable, said a lawyer for Trump, that the former president will hand himself over to the authorities on Tuesday.
Trump is currently at his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, and on Tuesday, if the date is confirmed, he will have to go to New York and appear in the Manhattan courthouse for his detention and for the his formal indictment. Normally people accused of criminal crimes like the one Trump is accused of at the time of their arrest or detention are handcuffed behind their backs and taken to court by the police. Only in some circumstances, when the offending person is considered to be of little danger, is he handcuffed with his hands in front, or accompanied without handcuffs. This passage, which usually takes place in front of journalists and photographers, is called the “perp walk”, i.e. the parade of the accused (“perp” is the abbreviation of “perpetrator”, the person accused of having committed the crime).
According to most American newspapers it is very unlikely that Trump will be handcuffed and that he will have to take the “perp walk”: it is rather possible that he will be let into the courthouse from a more secluded entrance.
However, Trump will have to leave his fingerprints and take mug shots, the so-called “mug shot”. For several years, New York state has no longer allowed these photos to be published unless there are explicit reasons related to the investigation, so it is likely that Trump’s “mug shot” will not be made public.
Trump will be made aware of the allegations against him, which have not been disclosed at this time. Then he will be immediately released. In upstate New York a person charged with nonviolent crimes can be released immediately without needing bail, unless again there are special needs.
In all of this it will be necessary to consider the role of the Secret Service, i.e. the personal security service that follows all presidents and former presidents: usually the indicted persons are taken into charge by the police, but in this case it is probable that exceptions will be negotiated to ensure that Secret Service agents always stay to protect Trump.
The American media have also taken into consideration the possibility, actually very remote at the moment, that Trump refuses to surrender and decides to stay in Mar-a-Lago. Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, has already said that his state will not “provide assistance to any extradition request” by the New York authorities. But that would mean that DeSantis would likely face legal consequences as well.
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