Former President Donald Trump arrived Monday afternoon in New York City to face criminal charges connected with an alleged hush-money payment to former stripper and porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump landed at LaGuardia Airport in his new blue, white, and red jet after leaving West Palm Beach, Florida, earlier in the day.
The former president was taken quickly to Trump Tower in a motorcade, escorted by the NYPD. He is expected to spend the night at his NYC base before his Tuesday arraignment at Manhattan Supreme Court.
Crowds gathered outside, waiting for Trump’s arrival at 4:13 p.m. He waved to them before quickly entering the building.
The former president is expected to surrender at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday to take his mugshot and be fingerprinted before his first court appearance.
Last week, the grand jury convened by D.A. Alvin Bragg voted to indict Trump. It marks the first time a former or current U.S. president has faced criminal charges.
Supporters were corralled behind metal barricades between East 56th and 55th streets. They held large signs, including some that read, “Trump ’24 for President,” “Finish the Wall,” and “Chinese Americans Fight for Trump.”
The specific charges against the 2024 GOP candidate will stay sealed until the arraignment.
However, reports suggest he will be facing 30 or more counts. Experts believe the charges include at least one felony charge of falsifying business records. If convicted, the former president could end up behind bars for as many as four years.
After hearing witness testimony and evidence since January, the grand jury handed over the indictment in the seven-year-old case.
The case centers on a $130,000 payment made by Michael Cohen to Daniels. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006, when former first lady Melania was home with their newborn son, Barron. Trump vehemently denies the affair or any wrongdoing involved in the payment.
Jurors also heard evidence of a separate $150,000 payment made to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, by the National Enquirer to acquire exclusive rights to the story about her alleged affair with the former president before the 2016 election, according to sources. The publication never ran the story in a practice known as “catch and kill.”
The prosecution’s star witness, Cohen, served a three-year sentence, primarily on home confinement, after pleading guilty in 2018 to lying to Congress and federal campaign charges — during the time he served as Trump’s lawyer.
U.S. Constitution allows candidates from seeking office if convicted of a crime
Former President Trump has blasted D.A. Bragg over the charges his allies and lawyers have called “political persecution.”
The Constitution allows candidates to seek higher office if convicted of a crime. The former president currently leads other GOP candidates for the 2024 Republican nomination, by a minimum of 19 points, according to a poll average by RealClearPolitics.
After his arraignment, Trump is set to return to his Palm Beach, Florida, resort, Mar-a-Lago. In his first speech since the indictment, he is expected to address his supporters Tuesday night.
Fans lined the drive to Palm Beach International Airport early Monday afternoon to greet and cheer on Trump as he arrived for his flight to New York. Several waved giant “Trump 2024” flags and homemade signs with messages including “God Bless Donald Trump.”
The former president’s son, Eric, joined his father for the trip. The younger Trump was photographed looking out the window and taking pictures with his phone, flashing a thumbs-up before takeoff.
“Watching the plane…from the plane,” he tweeted from aboard Trump Force One, accompanied by a photo of news coverage of the trip.