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Trump will not appear in court in handcuffs - Lawyer

By primenewsghana
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Donald Trump's court hearing has been set for Tuesday afternoon, according to the BBC's US partner CBS News.

The former president is expected to fly from Florida on his private plane and hand himself in with federal agents there to protect him.

A grand jury has indicted Mr Trump in connection with a $130,000 (£105,000) pay-out to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The charges are not yet public, and a lawyer for Mr Trump said on Friday that he too has yet to read the indictment.

A law enforcement official told CBS that Mr Trump is expected to fly his private plane to New York on Monday before surrendering to officials on Tuesday.

The process is likely to involve dozens or possibly hundreds of Secret Service agents, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mr Trump will not be handcuffed, the official added, saying that shackles are typically only used on suspects who are thought to be a flight or safety risk.

The hearing is due to take place at 14:15 local time (19:15GMT).

Mr Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, told ABC News that Mr Trump will "probably" appear in court on Tuesday, "but nothing is certain".

Prosecutors "will try and get every ounce of publicity they can from this thing", he said, adding "the president will not be put in handcuffs".

"I understand they're going to be closing off blocks around the courthouse, shutting down the courthouse," he continued.

Security is being co-ordinated by the FBI, NYPD, Secret Service and New York City court officers.


Sources tell CBS that they are bracing for possible scenarios that include attacks against Mr Trump, prosecutors, jurors or members of the public. The district attorney's office has received "many threats", the sources said.

Members of law enforcement were seen discussing security near the courthouseIMAGE SOURCE,REUTERS
Image caption,
Members of law enforcement were seen discussing security near the courthouse on Friday

On Friday morning, the streets around the courthouse were calm but the barricades were going up in anticipation of what may come next week.

Police officers were on patrol and security plans were being put into place. Many expect the area to go into lockdown when the former president attends court.

The district attorney's office had initially asked Mr Trump to surrender on Friday, according to Politico, but the request was rejected because more time was needed for security preparations.

Mr Trump, 76, denies wrongdoing. He is the first serving or former US president to face a criminal charge.

It is unclear how many charges are contained in the indictment, which is still sealed.

Media reports have said the ex-president faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud and Mr Tacopina said on Thursday he thought there would be 34. But on Friday, he said he did not know how many.

"We know what the subject matter is, we know the basis of the charges. We don't know the exact counts or how they're formulated," he said.

On Friday Mr Trump began attacking the judge assigned to his case in an effort to undermine the credibility of the investigation and rally his base to his defence.

Republicans - including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy - have accused the Manhattan district attorney of weaponising the criminal justice system to influence next year's presidential election. Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, who Mr Trump recently suggested should run for Senate, called on followers to protest and said she plans to be present in New York next week.

In response, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the charges had been brought by citizens of New York doing their civic duty - and neither the former president nor Congress could interfere with proceedings.

Media caption,

Watch: Trump's 'perp walk' moment explained in 60 seconds

In Washington, the US Capitol Police, which are tasked with safeguarding lawmakers in Congress, said the force believes protests will take place across the country and have plans in place to increase security at the US Capitol.

In 2016 adult film star Stormy Daniels contacted media outlets offering to sell her account of what she said was an adulterous affair she had with Mr Trump in 2006 - the year after he married his current wife, Melania.

Mr Trump's team got wind of this and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 to Ms Daniels to keep quiet. This is not illegal.

However, when Mr Trump reimbursed Mr Cohen, the record for the payment says it was for legal fees. Prosecutors say this amounts to Mr Trump falsifying business records, which is a misdemeanour - a criminal offence - in New York.

Image caption,
A Secret Service agent guards Mr Trump's Florida home

President Joe Biden declined to comment on the indictment, despite being pressed on the issue by journalists as he left the White House on a trip to Mississippi.

Mr Tacopina said Mr Trump was being "pursued by a prosecutor who has obviously very diverse political views from the president. So it's a very troubling case".

He said the former president was "not worried at all" about the charges.

"He's upset, angry. He's being persecuted politically. That is clear to many people, not only on the Right but on the Left."