Friday, March 31, 2023

Here’s what happens next for Donald Trump now that he’s been indicted


Former President Donald Trump will likely dodge a perp walk but still be fingerprinted, have his mugshot taken — and possibly be led into Manhattan court in cuffs — following his criminal indictment by a Manhattan grand jury.

The stunning turn — marking the first ever criminal case against a former US president — will propel the country’s legal system into “unprecedented territory,” experts say — with court officials adding that the publicity surrounding the event will mirror that of convicted Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.  

The charges contained in the indictment were not immediately made public. But the grand jury that voted to indict the ex-president has been probing “hush money” payments made by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has vehemently denied any claims of wrongdoing.

Here is what happens next now that Trump has been indicted:

What is an indictment?

An indictment solidifies the charges against a defendant, meaning a grand jury has determined there is enough evidence to warrant a trial after reviewing testimony presented solely by prosecutors.  

Grand jury proceedings are held in secret, and their findings are usually first released by a judge at the suspect’s arraignment.

Still, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could make the finding public beforehand, given the importance of the case. And there are always leaks.

“This is unprecedented territory,’’ defense lawyer and former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Bederow told The Post this month.

What charges would Trump face?

It is unclear what exact raps Trump could face, given the secrecy surrounding the grand jury.

But sources familiar with the proceeding have said the case involves the alleged falsifying of business records, or bookkeeping fraud, over the hush money to aid Trump’s election, which could also constitute a campaign finance violation.

The alleged criminal deed would amount to a reported “low-level felony’’ for which Trump could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

What happens following the indictment?

Bragg’s office will call Trump’s lawyers to inform them of the grand jury’s decision, and negotiations will begin for the former president’s surrender.

While typically a suspect is arraigned — brought before a judge to enter a plea — within a day, Trump’s case is unique because of the security ramifications it brings, experts say.

Trying to get safeguards in place in the event of widespread and potentially violent protests has been at the top of the list for everyone from the NYPD to the Secret Service for days.

So it is unclear exactly how long after the indictment Trump would be hauled into court.

“When have we ever seen the Secret Service be involved in discussions on how to book and arraign a defendant in New York state court?’’ Bederow noted.

“On the one hand, Trump should be treated like any other person arrested. On the other hand, he is a former president and current candidate.

“There is no roadmap or precedent.”

Will there be a humiliating perp walk?

Given the sensitivity of the case and the fact that Trump’s camp said he would fly to the city from Florida if indicted and voluntarily surrender, experts say there appears little chance the former president would be paraded handcuffed in front of the cameras on his way from a police precinct to Central Booking.

Instead, as is typical with white-collar suspects who surrender, Trump and his lawyers would freely walk into the Manhattan DA’s office at the agreed-upon time to be processed.

“The DA would be foolish to perp-walk Trump,’’ Bederow said. “They would be playing directly into Team Trump’s narrative that this a political prosecution, and also unquestionably, they would be provoking and riling up the Trump supporters.

“I expect they will try to de-escalate this entire process by not perp-walking him and possibly by even avoiding cuffing him, although that will piss off those people who want to see Trump humiliated.”

Will Trump have his mugshot taken?

Trump will be “booked’’ at the DA’s office, meaning he would be read his Miranda rights, fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken, experts say.

State law prohibits authorities from releasing mugshots, but Trump’s could still be leaked to the press.  

It is unclear if the former prez will be DNA-swabbed, with some experts saying it would not be unnecessary, given DNA is immaterial to his alleged crime, but that would be up to the arresting agency, in this case the DA’s Office.

Will Trump be handcuffed?

Trump will likely dodge handcuffs at least until he is brought into court for arraignment.

But he could be cuffed when walked into the courtroom, at which time his lawyer would request they be removed.

The decision on whether Trump would be handcuffed while led into court is up to the arresting agency, the DA’s Office, court officials said.

What will happen during Trump’s first appearance in court?

Trump’s lawyers will likely ask that he be released on his own recognizance, and the judge would presumably agree, deeming him not a flight risk given the former president’s uber-high profile and ongoing candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.  

The former commander-in-chief also has New York’s bail reform laws in his favor.

The laws require that defendants in non-violent felonies be freed without bail unless they are considered a flight risk.

When will Trump go on trial?

Jury selection alone could be exhaustive in a case involving the former president, so experts say they would not expect any trial to begin for months, possibly even after the 2024 election.

Can Trump still run for office or be elected once indicted?

It appears Trump could continue to run for office, be elected and serve even if indicted and convicted, under current law. 


Garnel Ironheart said...

You know why it's unprecedented territory? Because the Clintons did worse and no one indicted them.

Anonymous said...

The indictment is a slick ploy ,To boost Trump vs. his primary competitors
'The Republican Party has been trending fascist since at least the 1990s, if not since Dwight D. Eisenhower. They’re all fascists now, so it doesn’t much matter which one of them rises to power. But that said, Trump is a moron, and he can’t win the presidency again anyway. Meanwhile, DeSantis is the real deal—a true, honest-to-goodness fascist who’s shown himself to be intelligent and competent. Only a straight, rich, white man like Linker could be indifferent to this threat, let alone welcome the jackboot, as Linker clearly does. That’s exactly what I’d expect from the trans-hating New York Times, which also started out liking Hitler, did everything it could to normalize Trump, and now clearly wants to make DeSantis president. But the most galling thing of all is that Linker calls himself a liberal. On what planet is that true? He sometimes calls himself a centrist, and at times he’s written things critical of Democrats and progressives. That obviously makes him a center-right fascism-enabler!'

Garnel Ironheart said...

This is the Democrats outthinking the Republicans again.
Trump gets indicted. He even makes a few court room appearances. Now, how does a Republican run against him for the nomination? This indictment won't be portrayed as an attack on Trump but on the entire Republican party which means Trump becomes the standard bearer. But he can't win the general election because anyone who might be thinking of voting GOP will think "I'm not voting for a party that has an accused criminal as its candidate".

Joe Magdeburger said...

The term "fascist" has lost all meaning. If you are trying to satirise this trend, you have done a superb job.