Donald Trump will appear in a New York courtroom on Tuesday, April 4 for an arraignment related to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.
The first former president to face criminal charges, Trump is due to be arraigned, fingerprinted and photographed at the downtown Manhattan courthouse at 2.15pm ET on Tuesday.
His lawyers have said he will enter a plea of not guilty, and Trump himself has declared he will return straight to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida after the arraignment.
The specific charges included in the grand jury indictment have not been disclosed, but it has heard evidence about a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Here, DailyMail.com answers some questions about Trump’s arraignment, the district attorney in charge of prosecuting his case, and the likelihood of the former president being jailed.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump will appear in a New York courtroom on Tuesday, April 4 for an arraignment related to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election
What is Donald Trump being arraigned for?
Trump’s arraignment – the first time the former president has appeared in court in connection with the case – will take place tomorrow in New York at 2:15pm ET.
He will be ‘booked’, meaning he will have his photograph taken in the office of the Manhattan District Attorney and have to give his fingerprints.
Trump’s indictment has not yet been unsealed, so it’s not totally clear what he is being charged with.
Daniels has said she was paid to keep silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006. Trump denies the affair.
While it is not illegal to pay hush money, prosecutors say that when Trump reimbursed his former lawyer Michael Cohen who made the hush money payment, he recorded it as legal fees.
This, they argue, amounts to falsifying business records, which is illegal and can be a misdemeanor or a felony under New York law.
Trump’s arraignment will be presided over by Manhattan’s Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.
Manhattan’s Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has been described as a ‘no-nonsense judge’
Who is Alvin Bragg?
Alvin Bragg is Manhattan’s first Black district attorney – and he could also become the first prosecutor anywhere to bring a criminal case against a former U.S. president.
The Democrat inherited an investigation of Trump when he took office in January 2022.
Bragg grew up in Harlem during the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic, where he says he was held at gunpoint six times – three times by police.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, he previously worked as a federal prosecutor, chief deputy state attorney general, civil rights lawyer and law school professor.
Bragg campaigned for office as a progressive reformer. He was elected with 83 per cent of the vote in deep-blue Manhattan.
After taking office, Bragg paused an investigation into Trump’s business dealings that had been seen as gathering momentum toward a possible indictment.
But after his prosecutors won a trial last year in which Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, was convicted of tax fraud, Bragg convened a new grand jury to examine the hush money payouts.
Alvin Bragg is Manhattan’s first Black district attorney – and he could also become the first prosecutor anywhere to bring a criminal case against a former U.S. president
What do legal experts say about Trump going to jail?
If he were to be convicted on felony charges, Trump could face a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
However, legal experts have said a fine is the most likely outcome and have said time spent in prison is highly unlikely.
To secure a conviction on the felony charge, prosecutors would have to prove that records were falsified with the intention of committing or concealing a second crime.
It’s not clear what prosecutors may allege as the second crime.
Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina has said that Trump’s lawyers will ‘dissect’ his indictment once it is made public and will look at ‘every potential issue’ to challenge, adding that he anticipates at some point making a motion to dismiss the charges.
‘The team will look at every, every potential issue that we will be able to challenge, and we will challenge.
‘And of course, I very much anticipate a motion to dismiss coming because there’s no law that fits this,’ he said in a statement.
The 45th president’s legal woes have been snowballing for several years, with another legal probe still ongoing in Georgia as well as a possible federal investigation
If he is convicted and sentenced to a jail term, the former president could find himself in a single-occupancy cell in Rikers, Queens
If Trump gets a jail term where will he go and how long for?
If Trump is jailed over the claims he paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels then he will most likely end up at Rikers Island jail, which houses some of the city’s most notorious criminals.
Mike Lawlor, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven, told DailyMail.com that Trump would be given a no-frills treatment – similar to that of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – and would be forced to wear a second-hand orange boiler suit.
As a former president who recently announced his 2024 campaign, Trump is entitled to lifetime protection by the Secret Service, and would have two members of the agency sitting outside of his cell.
Lawlor, who chaired the House Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2011, told DailyMail.com: ‘Depending on the length of the sentence, if it is relatively short, less than a few years, he will serve it on Rikers Island in New York. If it’s a longer sentence, it would be in one of the correctional facilities upstate.
‘Trump would have to be in protective custody, isolated. They have facilities for that on Rikers, it is half empty, so there is no shortage of space.
‘Because of his age, he could also end up in the infirmary facility because he could have a variety of health issues and we are sure he has some.’