Donald Trump — the first former president in history to face criminal charges — is in New York for an arraignment today, after being indicted last week by a Manhattan grand jury.

Here is what we know about today’s events:

  • The Secret Service is scheduled to accompany Trump to the district attorney’s office, which is in the same building as the courthouse.
  • Trump will be booked by the investigators, which includes taking his fingerprints. Ordinarily, a mug shot would be taken, but sources familiar with the preparations were uncertain as to whether there would be a mugshot, because Trump’s appearance is widely known and authorities were concerned about the improper leaking of the photo, which would be a violation of state law.
  • Typically, after defendants are arrested, they are booked and held in cells near the courtroom before they are arraigned. But that won’t happen with Trump. Once the former president is finished being processed, he’ll be taken through a back set of hallways and elevators to the floor where the courtroom is located. He’ll then come out to a public hallway to walk into the courtroom.
  • Trump is not expected to be handcuffed, as he will be surrounded by armed federal agents for his protection.
  • Trump is expected to be brought to the courtroom, where the indictment will be unsealed and he will formally face the charges. After he is arraigned, Trump will almost certainly be released on his own recognizance. It is possible, though perhaps unlikely, that conditions could be set on his travel.
  • Ordinarily, a defendant who is released would walk out the front doors, but Secret Service will want to limit the time and space where Trump is in public. So instead, once the court hearing is over, Trump is expected to walk again through the public hallway and into the back corridors to the district attorney’s office, back to where his motorcade will be waiting.
  • Then he’ll head to the airport so he can get back to Mar-a-Lago, where he’s scheduled to speak publicly that evening.

CNN’s John Miller, Jeremy Herb, Katelyn Polantz, Tierney Sneed, Sydney Kashiwagi, Kristen Holmes, Holmes Lybrand, Hannah Rabinowitz, Paula Reid, Alayna Treene, Gregory Clary and Devan Cole contributed reporting to this post.17 min ago

Today’s arraignment won’t be broadcast live, but photos will be allowed at the start of the proceedings

From CNN’s Tierney Sneed

Members of the media stand outside the Manhattan District Attorney's office in New York City on Monday, April 3.
Members of the media stand outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in New York City on Monday, April 3. (Leonardo Munoz/AFP/Getty Images)

News outlets will not be allowed to broadcast former President Donald Trump’s arraignment today in a New York state court, a judge said Monday night, but he will allow some photographers to take pictures in the courtroom before the proceedings formally begin.

Acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan rejected the request by several media organizations, including CNN, for permission to broadcast the historic proceedings. Trump’s arraignment — like most arraignments in the Manhattan courthouse — is a public proceeding, but news cameras are not usually allowed to broadcast from inside the courtroom.

However, the judge is allowing five pool photographers to take still photos at the beginning of the proceedings “until such time as they are directed to vacate the jury box by court personnel.”

Earlier on Monday, Trump’s lawyers urged the judge to reject the media’s request for live cameras in the courtroom. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office told the judge they didn’t have a position. 

The media outlets that tried to get cameras into the courtroom argued that “the gravity of this proceeding … and, consequently, the need for the broadest possible public access, cannot be overstated.” 

In his Monday night order, Merchan wrote that the media’s request to broadcast the arraignment was understandable, but that the news organizations’ interests in providing the broadest possible access to the proceedings must be weighed against “competing interests.”

In rejecting the request to broadcast the arraignment live on television, Merchan still wrote about the historical significance of the proceeding in stark terms. 

“That this indictment involves a matter of monumental significance cannot possibly be disputed. Never in the history of the United States has a sitting or past President been indicted on criminal charges. Mr. Trump’s arraignment has generated unparalleled public interest and media attention,” he wrote. “The populace rightly hungers for the most accurate and current information available. To suggest otherwise would be disingenuous.”

8 hr 2 min ago

Trump hires new lead counsel for Manhattan district attorney case 

From CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Alayna Treene, Kara Scannel and Kirsten Holmes

Todd Blanche delivers a speech to the press at New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan in New York, on June 27, 2019.
Todd Blanche delivers a speech to the press at New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan in New York, on June 27, 2019. (Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images/FILE)

Former President Donald Trump has hired a new attorney to serve as lead counsel in his defense against charges brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, multiple sources tell CNN.

Trump has hired Todd Blanche, who was most recently a partner at law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Blanche has previously represented Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Igor Fruman, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani who was also a key figure in Trump’s first impeachment trial. Politico was first to report the news of Blanche’s hiring.

Trump attorney’s Joe Tacopina and Susan Necheles will remain on Trump’s legal team.  

Blanche’s hiring has been seen by some inside Trump’s orbit as a sidelining of Tacopina, who up until this point has been one of the most forward-facing attorney’s dealing with Trump’s defense. However, a senior adviser to Trump pushed back on that characterization and said the addition of Blanche was intended to add more legal firepower to Trump’s defense.

When pressed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Friday if Tacopina was the right lawyer in New York to take Trump to trial, another lawyer representing the former president, Tim Parlatore, pointed to a potential conflict of interest.

“I know that Joe has certain potential conflict issues, given his prior contacts, with Stormy Daniels. So, who’s the right attorney, to take it to trial, is something that the client will have to decide. Ultimately, the decision of who to stand next to, before a jury, is a decision that only the client can make,” Parlatore said.

Asked by CNN’s Paula Reid if he is still on the case and whether he will be in court tomorrow, Tacopina said: “Yes of course ! And I will be the lead trial lawyer when the bell rings!”

CNN’s Paula Reid contributed reporting to this post.7 hr 50 min ago

Here’s what Trump’s legal team has said about the indictment — and how they plan to respond charges

From CNN’s Katelyn Polantz

Joe Tacopina appears on  CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Joe Tacopina appears on CNN’s “State of the Union.” (CNN)

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team will look to challenge “every potential issue” in his indictment once the charges are unsealed, an attorney for the former president told CNN Sunday.

“We’re not doing anything at the arraignment because that would be showmanship and nothing more because we haven’t even seen the indictment yet. We will take the indictment, we will dissect it, the team will look at every – every – potential issue that we will be able to challenge and we will challenge it,” Joe Tacopina told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”

Tacopina and other Trump lawyers have done several TV interviews in anticipation of the former president’s first appearance in court Tuesday, when he will learn the charges that the Manhattan grand jury has approved against him.

At times, the lawyers have vowed to ask for the charges to be dismissed. But the full slate of charges still aren’t known. And crucially, a judge will ultimately determine if the law is sound enough for the case to move forward to trial.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in an interview with NBC News Sunday, “We can speculate on what evidence we think they may or may not have, but even with the indictment published, we really will not know what the district attorney’s evidence is and what they would present at trial.”

Vance’s team investigated the case but did not charge it, leaving it under the purview of his successor, Alvin Bragg.

What we know so far: Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud in the indictment. The investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office began when Trump was still in the White House and relates to a $130,000 payment made by his then-personal attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels in late October 2016, days before the presidential election, to silence her from going public about an alleged affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair.

The Trump team’s court strategy could center around challenging the case because it may rely on business record entries that prosecutors tie to hush money payments to Daniels seven years ago, beyond the statute of limitations for a criminal case.

Tacopina suggested in TV interviews Sunday that the statute of limitations may be passed, and said the Trump businesses didn’t make false entries.

“They’re not false entries. But assuming they were, they’re misdemeanors way beyond the statute of limitations, so they had to cobble them together to try and get a felony,” he said.

Tacopina on Sunday also said a request to move the case to a different New York City borough isn’t on the table yet for Trump’s legal team.

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