Donald Trump’s indictment means that even though he is the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime, he will be treated – to some degree, anyway – just like any other defendant in the criminal justice system.
When he is arrested, Trump will be read his rights, known as a Miranda warning, including how he has the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and that what he says can be used against him in a court of law.
Then Trump will be taken into custody, and processed just like any other defendant, including a booking number, former prosecutors and law enforcement officials told USA TODAY. “There will still be a mug shot, fingerprints and lots of paperwork filled out as part of the booking process,” like other defendants, said former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.
Underscoring the unprecedented nature of the case, it is expected that Trump will be accompanied through the process by his Secret Service detail, as former presidents are afforded such protection for life.
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The Manhattan District Attorney’s office acknowledged late Thursday that Trump’s lawyers had been notified. “This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender… for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” a spokesperson for District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. “Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected.”
Getting Trump to the courthouse could be another matter entirely.
Given his special stature, Trump’s first appearance could be a relatively calm event, with special efforts made by prosecutors and police to shield him from the kind of “perp walk” that authorities sometimes force other defendants to endure. That means a march – often in handcuffs – past the throngs of New York media. In some cases, some defendants have chosen to be taken into custody that way in an effort to make a statement about their arrest and the charges against them.
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Trump Attorney Joe Tacopina said the former president was expected in New York early next week for arraignment.
“It’s safe to say it will be a complete circus, and that’s an understatement,” predicted Matt Dallek, a presidential historian. “I doubt they will cuff him. But my understanding is he will need to be fingerprinted and take a mug shot.”
Contributing: Kevin Johnson
Josh Meyer is domestic security correspondent for USA TODAY. Follow him on Twitter at @joshmeyerdc
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