Donald Trump is the first former US President to be arrested on criminal charges.
He is being arraigned at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on criminal charges said to be related to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
He left his home at Trump Tower shortly after 13.00 local time (18.00BST). He waved to waiting cameras, making a fist, before getting into his car.
It took just minutes for the former president’s motorcade to make the 6.4km drive (4 mile) from his home at Trump Tower to the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. During the drive, he posted on his social media website: “Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME”.
He appeared calm and serious as he walked into the courthouse, pausing to wave at the crowd. Once inside, he surrendered to the authorities and was booked and processed. He then was seen walking into the courtroom.
NBC News reported that The legal troubles, media spectacle and porn-star-hush-money salaciousness at the heart of the case are a new chapter for the New York tycoon-turned-TV-star-turned-politician, whose career has careened from scandal to success for four decades.
This time, unlike his bankrupted casinos or failed marriages, many of Trump’s supporters and detractors argue that the fate of American democracy is hanging in the balance as the former president increasingly conflates any legal woes as an effort to illegitimately deny him a return to power.
With the failures of Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot still fresh in officials’ minds, security was high in the courthouse and nearby areas as the police department, court officers and Secret Service braced for protests amid the unprecedented arraignment of a former president.
While police shut down streets and the sound of a helicopter buzzed overhead, news outlets from around the world set up cameras near long lines of spectators, some of whom had camped out overnight in the hopes of getting a coveted seat inside.
The judge has barred TV cameras from inside the courtroom but decided to allow some photographers, who will capture historic images likely to end up on newspaper front pages, in election-season ads and in future history books.
“I think we’re on the eve of destruction. It’s just like surreal to me,” Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said Monday on Fox News.
Sources: BBC News, NBC News