Former President Donald Trump has been arrested at the federal courthouse in Miami and will soon be arraigned on charges related to mishandling classified documents.
via: NBC News
Trump, 76, was quickly processed after his arrival, and is scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge at 3 p.m. ET, when he’ll be arraigned alongside his co-defendant and aide, Walt Nauta, 40.
He left his Doral resort shortly after 1:30 p.m. in a motorcade to the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. courthouse, where a small crowd of demonstrators had gathered outside. “On my way to courthouse. Witch hunt!!!” he wrote in an all-caps post on his social media platform, Truth Social.
Trump was indicted last week on 37 federal felony counts, including willful retention of national defense information, making false statements and representations, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The bombshell case marks the first time in U.S. history that a former president has been charged with federal crimes — a test of the criminal justice system he once presided over in a politically-fraught prosecution.
The former president, who has struggled to find a local attorney after two members of his legal team resigned Friday, will be represented in his initial appearance by attorney Todd Blanche and Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general and an ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s main 2024 GOP rival, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Both traveled with Trump to the courthouse in his motorcade, a source close to Trump said.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and maintains he was entitled to the documents. He has said the prosecution was politically motivated and vowed to retaliate against President Joe Biden if re-elected.
“Now that the ‘seal’ is broken,” Trump wrote in all capital letters in a post on Truth Social earlier in the day, ” … I will appoint a real special ‘prosecutor’ to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the USA, Joe Biden.”
Alina Habba, a Trump attorney who’s involved with his other cases, spoke to reporters outside of the courthouse and repeated the former president’s claims that politics was driving the prosecution, saying Trump is the Republican front-runner and it’s “less than a year and half before the election.”
“People in charge of this country do not love America. They hate Donald Trump,” Habba said.
Trump is not expected to make any public comments at the courthouse, and he is scheduled to deliver remarks at his estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Tuesday night. The event had originally been planned as a private fundraiser for his 77th birthday, which is Wednesday.
There was no mug shot of Trump during the booking process, a law enforcement source told NBC News, with an existing photo uploaded to the government’s secure booking database, which is not publicly accessible. He was also going to be electronically fingerprinted.
Trump will have to provide personal data such as his telephone number, address and Social Security number, as part of the process. His hand will also be scanned digitally, without the use of ink.
Miami Police Chief Manny Morales said Monday that the city was bracing for the possibility of thousands of protesters at the courthouse and has been coordinating with federal, state and local partners “to ensure that we maintain not only peace and order” but also the ability for demonstrators “to express themselves and their First Amendment rights.”