NEW YORK – Former President Donald Trump will appear in a New York court on Tuesday to hear the charges against him, court officials said Friday. The appearance will start an unprecedented situation, that of a former head of state arrested and accused of crimes.
A grand jury investigated money payments during the 2016 election campaign to quell allegations of extramarital sexual encounters. The indictment itself is under seal, as is customary in New York prior to formal arraignment.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has called the investigation “scam,” “persecution,” injustice, and a political cheap shot to undermine his bid to run for president in the 2024 election. The former president is a Republican; the prosecutor who presided over the investigation, Alvin Bragg, is a Democrat.RELATED
No former president had been accused of a crime before, so there is no regulation to file him. Trump is protected by the Secret Service, whose agents are with him at all times.
He was asked to appear Friday, but his lawyers said the Secret Service needed more time for security preparations, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Even for defendants who come forward voluntarily, criminal cases in New York involve several hours of detention while fingerprinting, photos, and other paperwork are taken.
Bragg’s office said Thursday that it had contacted Trump’s attorney to coordinate the proceeding. Before the court date was announced, attorney Joseph Tacopina said Tuesday was the likely date for the filing.
The investigation was into payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both said they had sexual encounters with Trump years before he entered politics. The former president denies it in both cases.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, the women were paid by their allies to silence their complaints. The editor of the National Enquirer tabloid paid McDougal $150,000 for the rights to her story and then buried her, in a deal brokered by then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
After Cohen himself paid $130,000 to Daniels, Trump’s company reimbursed him with bonuses and listed those payments as legal expenses.
In a criminal case against Cohen in 2018, federal prosecutors argued that the payments amounted to illegal aid to the Trump campaign. Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, but prosecutors did not charge Trump, who was still president. However, some of his documents indirectly implicated him as someone who was aware of the payments.
Trump faces other investigations with potentially serious legal consequences for him.
In Atlanta, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Trump committed wrongdoing when he tried to get Georgia officials to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
At the federal level, a special prosecutor appointed by the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s attempts to rig the results of the national election. In addition, he asks why Trump kept a stack of secret government documents at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, and whether he or his representatives tried to obstruct that investigation.