It's final. Donald Trump has been indicted over hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. The bombshell indictment comes after the 45th president announced last month that he expects to be arrested by New York police after his lawyers paid Daniels a total of $130,000 to stay quiet about their alleged affair.
This also makes Trump the first US president since the 19th century when Ulysses S Grant was arrested for going too fast on a horse. Trump, 76, has recently been the target of legal issues, but he has never before been arrested in connection with any criminal activity. So what happens as and when Trump finally gets arrested?
Just Like Another Suspect
Trump is expected to be arrested anytime next week. The former president will be handled like any other suspect, having his Miranda rights read to him, having his fingerprints taken, and having a mug shot taken. He may even have handcuffs on.
But it's likely that Trump won't have to endure the humiliation of a perp walk, in which a suspect is brought in handcuffs from a police station or the Manhattan district attorney's office in front of cameras for all to see.
Instead, he'll probably enter the room with aides and Secret Service agents in tow while dressed in a suit and tie. He might even work out a deal with the prosecution to enter through a back door and avoid the escalating media circus.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement are now prepared for the influx of liberal protestors and Trump supporters who are anticipated to swarm the district attorney's office.
Trump is accused of paying Stormy Daniels, a porn star, $130,000 through his former attorney Michael Cohen near the end of his 2016 campaign.
According to the prosecution, a payment was made that broke campaign funding regulations in order to silence Daniels about having an affair with the powerful businessman.
Trump denied having an affair in the past. The former president also announced on March 18 that he will be detained on March 21. He made a plea to his supporters to come together and protest the matter.
How The Case Moves
Trump, who lives at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, will have to turn himself in as a result of the indictment to either the Manhattan District Attorney's Office or a precinct in New York City. He would have to take a plane to his former home state, probably aboard Trump Force One, his campaign airplane.
Trump is expected to be permitted to self-surrender, skipping the perp walk, because a financial crime is a "white-collar crime" and is regarded as non-violent.
Instead of arresting a defendant at home in white-collar cases, the defendant's attorneys and the prosecution often agree on a day and time for their client to turn themselves in.
Being fingerprinted and having your picture taken are part of the booking process, which normally lasts four to six hours.
The former president can also be given a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT), which requires him to report to the courthouse later for the formal charging hearing.
If Trump refuses to turn himself in willingly, prosecutors might try to have him extradited from Florida. Ironically, Trump's former ally and governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, would have to publicly approve his extradition.
Theoretically, he would be acting only in his capacity as the state's governor, and it would be an administrative action.
Politically, the situation is quite different. DeSantis has almost announced that he will run for president in 2024, putting him in competition with Trump for the GOP primary.
DeSantis has no legal recourse other than to consent to extradition, but doing so will probably enrage the hardline MAGA constituency he is seeking to win over. New York would presumably file a lawsuit and start a protracted legal struggle if DeSantis rejected extradition.
Trump's legal team has claimed that the former president will surrender. Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina told the New York Daily News that there would not be a showdown between the Secret Service and the Manhattan District Attorney's office at Mar-a-Lago.
Prosecutors are now anticipated to get in touch with his attorneys after the indictment to arrange his surrender, which may take several days.