Donald Trump arrives in New York ahead of court hearing

Donald Trump is said to be 'gearing up for battle' ahead of his court appearance on Tuesday, as Dan Rivers reports

Former US president Donald Trump has arrived in New York from his home in Florida to make an historic court appearance on Tuesday.

As he prepared to head into Manhattan, the nation's largest city was bolstering security and warning potential agitators that it is “not a playground for your misplaced anger”.

Trump's journey from his Mar-a-Lago estate to the airport in Florida took him past supporters waving banners and cheering the former president as they slammed the case against him as politically motivated.

The scene was quite different in New York, where Trump built a national profile in business and entertainment, but became deeply unpopular as he moved into politics.

The charges mark an extraordinary turn in American history, making Trump the first former president to face a criminal charge.

He has denied any wrongdoing and blasted the investigation as part of a yearlong “witch hunt” aimed at damaging his candidacy. But what happens next?

An aircraft carrying former president Donald Trump arrives at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Credit: AP

What will happen this week?

The former president flew to New York on Monday, where he will stay at his Trump Tower in Manhattan overnight.

Trump supporters voiced their backing for him in New York ahead of the case, decrying the charges brought against him.

He is expected to report to the courthouse on Tuesday morning, where, as is normal procedure, he will be fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken.

Supporters of the former US president said he will 'forever' have their backing

Investigators will complete arrest paperwork and check to see if he has any outstanding criminal charges or warrants.

Once the booking is complete, Trump will appear before a judge for an afternoon arraignment.

That will take place in the same Manhattan courtroom where his company was tried and convicted of tax fraud in December, and where disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's rape trial took place.

Trump is then set to deliver remarks at his Mar-a-Lago estate after returning from Manhattan.

What has Trump been accused of?

Trump is facing multiple charges of falsifying business records, including at least one felony offense, in the indictment handed up by a Manhattan grand jury.

Late in the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump's then-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 (£105,000) to keep her silent about what she claims was a sexual encounter with Trump, a decade earlier after they met at a celebrity golf tournament.

Mr Cohen was eventually reimbursed by Trump's company, the Trump Organisation, which also rewarded the lawyer with bonuses and extra payments logged internally as legal expenses.

Over several months, Mr Cohen said, the company paid him $420,000 (£33,900).

Earlier in 2016, Mr Cohen had also arranged for the publisher of the tabloid the National Enquirer to pay Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000 (£121,000) to spike her story of a Trump affair, in a controversial practice known as "catch-and-kill".

Pivotal moment in US history as Donald Trump faces criminal charges

The indictment relates to 'hush money' paid to Stormy Daniels (pictured), over an alleged affair she had with Donald Trump. Credit: AP

The payments to the women were intended to buy secrecy, but they backfired almost immediately as details of the arrangements were leaked to the media.

Federal prosecutors in New York ultimately charged Mr Cohen in 2018 with violating federal campaign finance laws, arguing that the payments amounted to impermissible help to Trump's presidential campaign.

Mr Cohen pleaded guilty to those charges and unrelated tax evasion counts and served time in federal prison.

Trump was implicated in court filings as having knowledge of the arrangements, but US prosecutors at the time avoided bringing charges against him as he was a sitting president.

How has Trump responded to the charges?

In US television interviews over the weekend, Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said he would pore over the indictment once he receives it, then devise the next legal steps.

He dismissed questions about whether he would ask for a venue change or file a motion to dismiss the case as premature, though it's common for defense attorneys to do both. “We're way too early to start deciding what motions we're going to file or not file, and we do need to see the indictment and get to work,” he told ABC's This Week.

Mr Tacopina said that most of what will happen on Tuesday remains “up in the air," given Trump's unique status as a former president.

“Obviously, this is different. This has never happened before. I have never had Secret Service involved in an arraignment before at 100 Centre Street,” he said on CNN.

“Hopefully this will be as painless and classy as possible for a situation like this.”

Donald Trump has been critical of the investigation. Credit: AP

What does this mean for his presidential campaign?

An indictment - or even a conviction - would not bar Trump from running for president or serving as the Republican nominee.

Polls show Trump remains the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and his standing has not faltered, even amid widespread reporting on the expected charges.

Trump's campaign and his allies have long hoped an indictment would serve as a rallying cry for his supporters, angering his “Make America Great Again” base, drawing small dollar donations, and forcing Trump's potential rivals into the awkward position of having to defend him - or risk their wrath.

At Trump's first rally of the 2024 campaign, held in Texas over the weekend, supporters expressed widespread disgust with the investigation and insisted the case wouldn't affect his chances.

Others in the crowd said their support for Trump had been waning since he left the White House, but the looming indictment made them more likely to support him in 2024 because they felt his anger had been justified.

However for now, it remains unclear how the indictment will resonate with voters.

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