New York City on Tuesday was bracing for the unprecedented indictment of a former president, as Donald Trump was scheduled to face charges in a Manhattan courtroom after being indicted by a grand jury.
The city was on high alert for the afternoon hearing, with officials promising escalated security and urging anyone who plans to protest to behave.
“New York is already always, always ready,” Mayor Eric Adams said Monday. “While there may be some rabble-rousers … our message is clear and simple: Control yourselves.”
The charges are related to an alleged hush-money payment made to a porn actor in the final days of the 2016 campaign, marking the first time in history that a former U.S. president has been criminally prosecuted.
The indictment will be unsealed Tuesday, revealing the exact charges a New York grand jury voted to bring against Trump. The charges are expected to be related to a $130,000 payment made by his former attorney Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels — money allegedly paid to prevent her from publicly saying she had an affair with Trump. The former president has been accused of hiding his reimbursement to Cohen by funneling it through his business and recording the payments as legal services.
Trump is facing separate investigations into his alleged attempts at interfering in the 2020 election; alleged involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol; and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.
Adams and New York Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said there were no specific or credible threats in the run-up to Trump’s court appearance, but the city would be significantly increasing its police presence as a precaution.
By Monday, layers of fences and barriers had been placed in and around Trump Tower. City officials urged people to use public transit, warning that Tuesday’s hearing and possible protests would bring significant traffic to the area.
Sewell said there would be rolling street closures throughout Manhattan to facilitate the former president’s travel from Trump Tower to court, where he is expected to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m. She said some streets near both locations would likely be closed all of Tuesday to facilitate Trump’s movement but declined to offer specifics.
Sewell said a “healthy number of officers” would be dispatched to subways to ensure safety.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a Republican known for spinning wild conspiracy theories, has said she will rally for the former president. She announced Friday on Twitter that she would be heading to New York and urged Trump’s supporters to “protest the unconstitutional WITCH HUNT.”
Trump also called for protests as news of a possible indictment surfaced in mid-March, but large crowds have not materialized. Still, the possibility of violence continues to be a concern.
At a news conference Monday, Adams singled out Greene, saying, “Although we have no specific threats, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene — who is known to spread misinformation and hate speech — she stated she’s coming to town.”
He had a message for the congresswoman and other protesters: “While you’re in town, be on your best behavior.”
Times staff writers Petri reported from New York and Hernandez and Winton from Los Angeles.