What to Know
- A Manhattan grand jury investigating alleged hush money payments made on behalf of former President Donald Trump reconvenes Wednesday, as the world awaits an indictment decision.
- Trump has been in Florida, though urged his supporters to "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST" in NYC days ago when he declared he expected to be arrested this week. That hasn't happened.
- Any indictment wouldn't preclude him from seeking the 2024 GOP nomination. There's no rule against running for president while facing criminal charges or even post-conviction -- and convicted felons have run for U.S. president before.
BREAKING UPDATE: Manhattan DA Tells Trump Grand Jury to Stay Home Today, Sources Say
It's been five days since former President Donald Trump announced to the world he expected to be arrested and urged his supporters to "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST" in New York City, where throngs of fully uniformed NYPD, Secret Service and other officers secured the Manhattan Criminal Court perimeter ahead of a possible grand jury indictment.
After an off day Tuesday, that grand jury reconvenes Wednesday afternoon -- and all eyes are on Manhattan and its district attorney.
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Protests have been intermittent and largely muted thus far. A few members of the New York Young Republican's Club donned MAGA hats and rallied outside Manhattan Criminal Court earlier this week, and Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan has been the scene of a handful of impromptu demonstrations.
It's unclear if any potential organized actions could intensify if the grand jury does in fact opt to indict Trump, which would be the first indictment of a sitting or former U.S. president in history, but with the pall of the Jan. 6 insurrection still looming large, the NYPD, and its law enforcement partners at all levels of government, are preparing accordingly.
NYPD officers of every rank were ordered to wear their uniforms and prepare for deployment starting Tuesday, according to an internal memo obtained by News 4.
U.S. & World
The memo, sent by the commanding officer of the NYPD's operations division, instructed all uniformed service members to be mindful of protocol around public disorder and be prepared for mobilization at any time while on duty.
Law enforcement sources said intel teams are closely monitoring social media for protests, including intentional acts to slow down traffic or disrupt daily life across the city. Thus far, nothing of the sort has taken place in the city.
The police department, Secret Service, court officers and FBI continue to meet to discuss security. Two senior officials said the Secret Service has yet to do a security review of the 100 Centre Street courthouse where Trump could face a judge if he is indicted. Entrances, booking areas, hallways, courtroom, surrounding streets and more would be included in that kind of advanced security review, which would only be done if and/or when a potential indictment comes down.
During the meetings between law enforcement agencies, officials have discussed various possible routes of arrival for Trump should he be flown to New York to face any charges. LaGuardia and Teterboro airports have been mentioned as possibilities, officials said, along with varying routes to and from the courthouse.
As of the latest developments, there have been no plans or requests for Trump — who has been at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida — to travel to the city this week, according to several sources. It doesn't appear a virtual arraignment would be likely in the event of an indictment, given what would be the historic significance of such a proceeding.
What Happens Next: Could Trump Still Run? And More Questions
District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office has been investigating alleged hush money paid to women, including Stormy Daniels, who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. Trump declined to testify before the grand jury. Potential charges include falsifying business records connected to the payments made during his 2016 campaign.
It's one of several intensifying probes as Trump mounts his third presidential run. He has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and accuses prosecutors of engaging in a politically motivated “witch hunt” to damage his campaign.
An indictment wouldn't stop Trump from keeping his hat in the 2024 ring. There is no prohibition against running while facing criminal charges — or even following conviction. Indeed, convicted felons have run for president before.
If Bragg does secure an indictment, legal experts say there will be a slew of thorny procedural questions about how to provide a fair trial.
"If you are going to go after a person the likes of Donald Trump you better have an unbelievably rock solid case," said Arthur Aidala, an attorney who has represented big-name clients like Rudy Giuliani, Harvey Weinstein and Meek Mill.
If Trump is charged, Aidala predicts the defense would ask for a change of venue, given the heavily Democrat block from which the jury base would be chosen. Aidala said he doesn't think a venue change would be granted.