NEW YORK (AP) – Every day, hundreds of people are taken into the custody of law enforcement in New York City. Former US president Donald Trump is expected to be one of them as early as next week.
Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, prosecutors and defense lawyers said Thursday, after investigating payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign to silence claims of extramarital sexual contact. The indictment itself remains sealed in the first criminal case ever brought against a former US president.
Trump – a Republican who attacked the case on Thursday as “political persecution” by a Democratic prosecutor of a “completely innocent person” – is expected to turn himself in to authorities on Tuesday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter but not authorized to discuss it. in public. The person said surrender details are still being worked out.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said it contacted Trump’s lawyer to coordinate his surrender and settlement.
For any New York defendant, poor or powerful, answering criminal charges involves being fingerprinted and photographed, submitting basic questions like name and date of birth, and getting away. All told, defendants are usually detained for at least several hours.
There may be differences in where the various steps take place, how long they take, whether handcuffs come off and other details. Much depends on the severity of the case and whether defendants decide to turn themselves in.
But there is no playbook for booking a former president with protection from the US Secret Service. Agents are tasked with protecting former presidents unless and until they say they don’t need it. Trump kept his detail, so agents would have to be by his side at all times.
“This would be a unique outlier,” said Jeremy Saland, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor in Manhattan.
If Trump does indeed turn in, expect a relatively quick choreographed process and release without bail (as is common in New York) – and with a focus on security. A former president is unlikely to be paraded in caskets across sidewalks or through the halls of a crowded courthouse, according to Saland.
“It’s a public forum, but safety is also paramount,” he notes.
If defendants are told of an impending indictment or arrest, they often decide to turn themselves in. Doing so can streamline the process and strengthen arguments for bail by showing that they are not avoiding the case.
For example, when former Trump company finance chief Allen Weisselberg was indicted in Manhattan on tax fraud charges in 2021, he was able to turn himself in at the courthouse door before normal business hours.
The aim was to “reduce the likelihood that the surrender would turn into a mean frenzy,” his lawyers wrote in a subsequent court filing.
Weisselberg arrived around 6:15 a.m. and was taken to what his attorneys described as a “holding room” for booking, a possible release interview, and other procedures. To pass the time, he brought a book – “Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan’s Soul” – and his lawyers provided him with snacks, a face mask, breath mints and other items, according to the filing.
Weisselberg was arraigned and released about eight hours later, after walking into a courtroom past a phalanx of news cameras in the hallway. (Weisselberg eventually pleaded guilty to evading taxes on employment benefits that included a free apartment and school tuition for his grandchildren.)
On the other hand, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to a Manhattan police station in 2018 to face rape and criminal sexual assault charges. He was for some time in the station’s cell, poring over a biography of the famous film director Elia Kazan, before he was taken out in cuffs and taken to court under the gaze of journalists on the sidewalk — and other suspects in a reservation area in a court house, where several people lived. , “Yes, Harvey!”
Within three hours of his surrender, Weinstein was arraigned and released on electronic monitoring and $1 million bail. (Weinstein was eventually convicted; his appeal is now before New York’s highest court. He was also convicted on similar charges in Los Angeles.)
But even a scheduled arrest is still an arrest. Defendants are required to surrender cell phones and some other personal items for safekeeping (and, in some cases, potential evidence), and lawyers are generally not allowed to accompany their clients through the process. Attorneys often advise traveling light and staying with mom.
“Don’t make any statement. Because you think you are helping your case, but they can only use your statements against you – because you are currently caught, you become nervous,” says Gianni Karmily, a defense lawyer who practices in the City New York and on Ship. Island.
Many arrests in New York City are not pre-planned. That can be a very different experience for defenders, even prominent defenders.
When a hotel housekeeper accused then-International Monetary Fund head and potential French presidential contender Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in 2011, he was dragged off a plane at Kennedy Airport.
Strauss-Kahn, who said his contact with the woman was consensual, spent about 36 hours being questioned, arrested, subjected to various examinations and held in pen-like spots that house a courthouse before being charged with he was arraigned and jailed without bail. After several days in the city’s notorious Rikers Island jail, Strauss-Kahn was released on $1 million bail, under house arrest with armed guards.
Manhattan prosecutors eventually dropped the criminal case against Strauss-Kahn, who later settled a civil suit brought by his accuser.