Friday, May 24, 2024

How Trump’s arraignment in Miami will unfold

(BBC News) Donald Trump will have another day in court on Tuesday, when he is due to surrender to authorities in Miami to face charges that he mishandled classified documents.

The first former president ever to face federal charges, he is accused of 37 criminal counts of unauthorized possession of classified material, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to law enforcement.

Trump’s court appearance is his second in less than three months. He was arraigned in April in New York on charges that he falsified business records for a 2016 hush-money payment to a porn star. But that is a state-level case and much less serious than the one he is now facing.

Florida officials are bracing for protests from supporters and opponents.

Here’s how we expect Tuesday’s arraignment to unfold.

The former president flew from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on board his plane, Trump Force One, to Miami on Monday morning. He will spend the night at the Trump National Doral, a hotel and resort in the Miami area, according to aides.

Accompanied by Secret Service officers, he is expected to motorcade from the hotel to the Wilkie D Ferguson court, where his arraignment is scheduled for around 15:00 local time (19:00 GMT). The court is about 18 km from the hotel.

The entire hearing is set to last about an hour, after which Trump will fly back to Bedminster.

He is scheduled to give remarks there at 20:15 (00:15 GMT), shortly after landing.

Trump will have the charges read to him, and he is expected to enter a plea of not guilty.

One of his lawyers, Alina Habba — who is not representing him in this case — told Fox News the former president will “never admit guilt.”

The judge is expected to release the former president on his own recognizance, meaning he will be freed without having to pay a bail bond, to return to court at a later date.

Various procedural issues are likely to be addressed, although it is thought unlikely that a trial date will be set.

Normally, defendants who voluntarily appear in court are handcuffed and get their fingerprints and mugshots taken.

But legal experts do not expect the former president to face the same procedures as any other defendant.

At his earlier court appearance to face state charges in New York in April, Trump was only fingerprinted.

The U.S. public is unlikely to see Trump during the court appearance, as cameras are not permitted in federal courts.

The initial stages of this case have been assigned to Judge Aileen Cannon, whom Trump appointed in 2020 while he was president.

Last summer, Judge Cannon granted a request by Trump’s legal team to grant a review of the files at the centre of this case. An appeals court later overturned her decision.

The 42-year-old, who was born in Colombia and now resides in Florida, is a graduate of Duke University and The University of Michigan Law School, where she was an articles editor for the school’s Journal of Law Reform publication.

Security will be extremely tight in and around the court. Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales said on Monday they would deploy enough resources to handle a crowd of up to 50,000 people if necessary, and ensure Miami is kept “safe and secure.”

Trump is expected to enter the building through an underground tunnel, avoiding both the anticipated crowds of supporters and counter-demonstrators, and the media outside.

In an interview on WABC radio after the indictment, Trump urged supporters to demonstrate.

“Look, our country has to protest,” he said. “We have plenty of (reason) to protest. We’ve lost everything.”

A number of other Trump supporters have also called for demonstrations. Former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake vowed that prosecutors would have to “go through me, and 75 million Americans just like me.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said on Monday that the city would facilitate any protests.

“But we also believe in law and order,” he added, “and we know that, and we hope that tomorrow will be peaceful.”

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