Historic felony arraignment: Trump to leave Mar-a-lago Monday, face fraud charges Tuesday

Trump’s attorney: Expect not-guilty plea and no handcuffs

PALM BEACH, Fla. – New York County Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan is expected to preside over the first criminal case against a former president in the history of the United States.

Merchan “HATES ME,” Donald Trump recently wrote on social media on the same platform that he used to warn on March 18 that his arrest was imminent.

Trump’s plane remained at Palm Beach International Airport, about 2.5 miles away from Mar-a-Lago, on Friday night, as he is expected to fly to New York on Monday and stay at the Trump Tower.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is set to unseal the indictment during an arraignment hearing Tuesday that will stem out of a grand jury investigation.

Attorney Joseph Tacopina, who is representing Trump, said on Friday that he was expecting the arraignment to be related to the “completely legal settlement agreement that was done years ago” with porn actor Stormy Daniels. Sources said he is looking at 30 counts related to business fraud.

“The president will not be putting handcuffs,” Tacopina told ABC News George Stephanopoulos during Good Morning America adding that the U.S. Secret Service will be involved and “I don’t think they will be allowing this to become a circus.”

A detail of a copy of an order by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan who is presiding over former President Donald Trump's case is photographed, Friday, March 31, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Trump will not be putting on handcuffs and will be pleading not guilty, according to Tacopina. Trump has denied having extramarital sex with the porn actor and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The hush money payments were the subject of the campaign finance violation charges that Michael Cohen, his former attorney, pleaded guilty to.

“This is not revenge. This is all about accountability. He needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds,” Cohen said earlier this month after testifying for the grand jury.

Prosecutors in Atlanta are investigating Trump for allegedly trying to get officials to overturn his election in 2020 in Georgia.

The Justice Department is investigating Trump in two cases: His efforts to delegitimize election results and if there was obstruction related to the top-secret documents in Mar-a-Lago.

“We have to deal with it one at a time,” Tacopina said.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez reacted to the New York indictment, as Trump campaigns for the Republican candidacy and the presidency for a third time.

“It’s something that is very dangerous for the United States, that a local DA could actually indict a former president,” Gimenez said.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “He is both entitled to his day in court and not above the law.”

Complete coverage

New York case

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg leaves the District Attorney's office in New York, Thursday, March 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Florida reaction

People hold a flag to show their support for former President Donald Trump following the news that Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, Thursday, March 30, 2023, near Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Georgia case

Kennedy contributed to this report from Washington, D.C. Perez and Stanwood contributed from Palm Beach, and Torres from Miami. Local 10 News affiliate ABC News and The Associated Press also contributed.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News.

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.