A former president of the United States will appear before a court in New York City on Tuesday to be arraigned on criminal charges — a first of its kind event in American history.
The arraignment of former President Trump will be a spectacle, as the man leading GOP presidential polls for 2024 visits his former hometown in the midst of a widening primary fight.
Trump’s indictment is seen by many as providing a boost for his nascent efforts at reelection, with Republican allies and foes starkly criticizing what they’ve labeled as a politically-motivated prosecution.
A grand jury in New York voted to indict Trump in connection with his alleged role in hush money paid amid his 2016 presidential campaign to adult film star Stormy Daniels to silence her allegations of an affair, which Trump denies.
There are a number of unanswered questions related to the matter, with Trump expected to surrender to prosecutors in Manhattan on still-unknown charges.
Here are some of the biggest questions, and what we know about the answers.
Where is Trump and how is he getting to the courthouse?
Trump traveled Monday to New York before his arraignment and will stay at his Trump Tower overnight before heading to the courthouse for surrender late Tuesday morning.
The arraignment is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
What will be public?
It’s not entirely clear what will be public and what will be behind closed doors.
A number of media outlets have requested that Judge Juan Merchan, who is set to preside over the case, allow a limited number of photographers, videographers and radio journalists inside the courtroom during the former president’s arraignment. The news outlets that have asked for the permission include The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
Merchan is expected to issue an order on whether he will allow the cameras in the courtroom on Monday.
He invited lawyers for both Trump and the district attorney to submit any concerns they may have about the presence of cameras by 1 p.m. Monday.
What is an indictment?
An indictment is formal notice to an individual that it’s believed they’ve committed a crime. For felony charges, a grand jury examines evidence and votes secretly on whether there’s sufficient evidence that a crime occurred. A grand jury in New York voted to indict Trump last week.
The indictment includes basic information, but specific charges are typically revealed at an arraignment. An indictment is not a conviction.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is a criminal defendant’s first appearance in court.
At this initial hearing on the case, Trump will hear the specific charges against him read by the judge. He’ll be asked how he wants to plead — and his attorney Joe Tacopina has already said his team plans for Trump to plead not guilty.
What charges will Trump face?
The charges Trump will face are unknown for now, though it’s possible the indictment will be unsealed when Trump appears in court.
The media outlets that have requested the access of cameras in the courtroom have also asked the judge to unseal the indictment before the arraignment. It is unclear whether Merchan will grant the request ahead of Trump’s arrival at the courthouse.
Some reports have suggested that Trump could face dozens of charges, but the precise number is a mystery.
Will he get a mugshot — and will that be released?
Trump is expected to have his mugshot taken, but New York law discourages the public release of booking photos in most cases without a legitimate law enforcement need to release the image.
However, the former president would still be able to release the photo on his own, according to the Albany Times Union.
Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who was jailed for his involvement in the hush money payment to Daniels, said on Sunday he thinks Trump will “absolutely” go through the formalities of being fingerprinted and getting his booking photo taken.
Will he be handcuffed?
Tacopina, who represents Trump, said over the weekend that much about Tuesday was still up in the air, including whether the former president will face a perp walk, but that he doesn’t expect Trump will be handcuffed.
Tacopina said Sunday he hopes the arraignment process is “painless and classy.”
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has reached out to Trump’s team to coordinate the court appearance, which has included deliberations with the Secret Service.
Will he be released?
Trump is expected to be released after his arraignment and has set plans to speak at his Palm Beach residence later on Tuesday.
The former president will likely be free to travel after the arraignment because the charges against him aren’t expected to include any violent felonies.
Are protests expected?
Ahead of the indictment, Trump had called on his supporters to protest his anticipated arrest, which stoked worries about possible violence and prompted even some in Trump’s party to stress that any protests should stay peaceful.
No widespread demonstrations took place, but authorities have been taking precautions surrounding the indictment and arraignment.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said over the weekend that she’ll take part in a protest coordinated by the New York Young Republican Club around noon on Tuesday, before the 2:15 p.m. arraignment.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) on Monday warned Greene and the protesters to “be on your best behavior.”
Secret Service agents have been involved in preparations for Trump’s Tuesday appearance, according to The Washington Post.
Will the judge issue a gag order in the case?
Merchan could impose a gag order, which would block Trump, his legal team and witnesses from publicly discussing the case.
Gag order violations mean a party could be held in contempt of court. Legal observers say a gag order is uncommon, but that it has been done before.
Will Trump make any public comments?
Trump is set to give remarks from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Tuesday night, indicating he’ll jet back to Palm Beach just after his expected appearance in Manhattan earlier that day.
He’s slated to speak at 8:15 p.m., just six hours after his arraignment.
Assuming there is no gag order, Trump will likely talk about the indictment and the case to some degree. If there is a gag order, it’s an open question to what degree Trump will talk.
It is unclear whether Trump will speak from Manhattan before or after his expected court appearance on Tuesday.