Following his historic indictment on criminal charges, Donald Trump was preparing Friday to go where no former US president has gone before -- a prosecutor's office to be booked, fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken.
Trump's pending arrest, expected on Tuesday, throws a political grenade into the 2024 presidential race, in which the 76-year-old real estate tycoon is hoping to return to the White House.
A New York grand jury indicted Trump on Thursday over a $130,000 hush-money payment made to a porn star to buy her silence during his 2016 campaign. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused the Manhattan district attorney who brought the charges, Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of waging a "political witch-hunt" to derail his new White House bid. Trump's lawyers said the former president, who is currently at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, would surrender to New York authorities on Tuesday to face the charges, which remain under seal.
Extra security has been deployed for days around the downtown Manhattan courthouse where Trump is expected to be booked and arraigned before a judge. "The president will not be put in handcuffs," said Joe Tacopina, one of Trump's attorneys, but "I'm sure they'll try to make sure they get some joy out of this by parading him." Trump would plead not guilty and there was "zero" chance he would accept a plea deal, Tacopina told NBC's "Today" show. "It's not going to happen. There's no crime."
Trump was initially "shocked" at the indictment, his attorney said, but "he's now in the posture that he's ready to fight this." In predicting his indictment, Trump called for protests and warned that it could lead to "potential death and destruction" for the country.
"They only brought this Fake, Corrupt, and Disgraceful Charge against me because I stand with the American People, and they know that I cannot get a fair trial in New York!" he wrote on his social media platform Truth Social. Trump survived two impeachments while in the White House and kept prosecutors at bay over everything from the US Capitol riot to missing classified files -- only to land in court over a sex scandal involving Stormy Daniels, a 44-year-old adult movie actress.
Top Republicans have rallied around the former president who remains the favorite to win the party's 2024 presidential nomination despite potential legal troubles that extend beyond the New York indictment. Trump faces felony investigations in Georgia relating to the 2020 election and in Washington over both the classified files and the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, said the indictment had "irreparably damaged" the country.