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Here’s What Happens Next As He Prepares For Miami Court Appearance



Former President Donald Trump has been charged in the federal investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified documents and has been summoned to appear in federal court in Florida next week, an unprecedented development that has riled his allies as he campaigns to become president again.

Key Facts

When will Trump appear in court? Trump has been ordered to appear at a federal courthouse in Miami at 3 p.m. on Tuesday and is expected to surrender himself to authorities beforehand.

Will he be arrested? It is likely Trump will be arrested, booked and taken into custody before he appears before a judge.

Will there be a mugshot? Trump did not have a mugshot taken when he was arrested in New York in April and while common they are not required. Mugshots are generally intended to help recognize someone and officials may consider it pointless given that Trump is one of the most readily recognizable people in the world.

Would we get to see the mugshot? Even if the Department of Justice decided to take a mugshot of Trump, it’s unlikely we would see it unless it’s leaked, as it has a policy of not releasing photographs unless they are already part of the public record.

Will Trump be fingerprinted? Trump was fingerprinted in April and will likely be fingerprinted again in Florida next week as it is standard practice for processing federal criminal defendants.

Will his DNA be profiled? DNA samples are sometimes taken from federal defendants so they can be profiled, as well as added or checked across the government’s DNA databases. It’s not clear whether this will happen or is expected in Trump’s case.

Will Trump be handcuffed? Trump was not handcuffed when he was arrested in New York—he reportedly wanted to make his arrest into a “spectacle”—and given his profile and low security risk he is unlikely to be handcuffed when he appears in court in Florida.

What will happen in court? Once Trump has been processed, he will appear before a judge to hear the charges against him and enter an initial plea of his guilt or innocence. The judge will also set out what happens until the defendant’s trial, for example travel restrictions, restraining orders or bail conditions.

Will Trump be held in jail? It is theoretically possible Trump could be remanded into custody when awaiting trial, but it is highly unlikely a judge would order this. Most people accused of white-collar crimes are not jailed before trial and the former president—imminently recognizable, running for president and followed everywhere by a detail of Secret Service agents—is hardly considered a major flight risk.

Can we watch Trump’s arraignment? Almost certainly not. Federal courts usually have very strict rules on electronic devices, recordings and broadcasting. In some courts, these rules were relaxed during the Covid-19 pandemic, though the remote access policies were temporary and have since lapsed.

What about pictures? It’s unlikely there will be any pictures of Trump appearing in court to be arraigned in Florida either. According to the court’s guidelines, reporters attending must agree to “not record or transmit in any way audio, still photography, or video from anywhere inside courthouses nor from inside courtrooms.” Reporters are also not allowed to “create a verbatim record of any proceeding.”

Will there be any images from Trump’s court appearance? There will probably be a number of courtroom sketches from Trump’s arraignment.

What To Watch For

The case set out against Trump is unprecedented in many ways, not least because it is the first time a former president is facing federal charges. The judge assigned to the case will determine the course of Trump’s case, including its timeline. This is likely to be a major dispute between parties, with Trump likely wanting to put it well after the 2024 election and the Department of Justice probably pushing for it to be resolved well before Americans take to the polls. Federal judges are assigned randomly to cases. They are also nominated by the president and Trump appointed a prodigious number during his single term in office. This includes judges in Florida—five in the Southern district where the Miami court is—raising the prospect of Trump appearing before a judge he himself had appointed. This includes Aileen Cannon, who is already a controversial figure in the Trump documents case after ruling in favor of Trump to appoint an independent investigator to review documents. Experts roundly criticized the decision as an unprecedented intervention and it was unanimously tossed out on appeal.

News Peg

Trump said he was indicted by federal prosecutors on Thursday in connection with a long running investigation into his handling of classified documents after leaving office. Trump has been indicted before—he was indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in April in connection with an alleged hush money scheme—but it is the first time a former president has faced federal charges. He has reportedly been indicted on seven criminal counts over his alleged mishandling of classified files and the obstruction of justice, according to news reports, which are expected to include violations of the Espionage Act. If convicted, Trump faces a potentially lengthy prison sentence.

Further Reading

What Crimes Was Trump Charged With In Federal Documents Case? Here’s What We Know—And How Much Prison Time He Could Face (Forbes)

Trump Indictment: McCarthy, DeSantis, Musk Blast DOJ Charges As Some Democrats Applaud (Forbes)

Trump Says He Was Indicted In DOJ Classified Documents Probe (Forbes)

Past cases persuaded Justice Dept. officials to shift Trump case south (Washington Post)

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