Former President Trump Set to Appear in Court in Miami Tuesday Amid Increased Security

Former President Donald Trump is preparing to surrender to authorities Tuesday in Miami and be arraigned at a federal courthouse as the Justice Department’s unprecedented criminal case against him moves to the next stage.

Law enforcement officials are bracing for the possibility of demonstrators both opposing and supporting the former president around the courthouse.

The proceedings on Tuesday are expected to begin a series of legal engagements for Trump that could extend to, and possibly beyond, the 2024 presidential election, where he is seeking to be the GOP nominee to face the presumptive Democrat candidate, President Joe Biden.

Friday, federal prosecutors unsealed a vast 49-page indictment on 37 counts of former President Trump’s post-presidential handling of classified materials at his Florida Mar-a-Lago residence. The move took the country into uncharted waters as it was the first prosecution of a former president in U.S. history.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and his campaign has used the indictment to seek campaign contributions. He said to his supporters on social media, “SEE YOU IN MIAMI ON TUESDAY.” Special counsel Jack Smith, whose investigation led to the charges, addressed the indictment on Friday by saying the law applies to everyone equally.

Additionally, Trump faces criminal charges in New York that were brought earlier this year, stemming from an investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney into his role in an alleged hush-money payment to a former stripper and porn actress, Stormy Daniels, in the waning days of the 2016 election.

“We now have two standards of justice in our country. The Democrat Communists want to jail their opponents while they protect the murderers who prowl our cities day and night and other brazen criminals,” said Trump during the first of two campaign appearances on Saturday.

Criminal cases can take several years to resolve, raising the prospect that Trump will be both mounting a legal defense and campaigning through the ensuing months, ensuring that his legal worries stay front and center in the run-up to the November 2024 election.

Miami area is preparing for possible protests

It is still being determined whether Trump will enter the Miami courthouse on Tuesday through the main lobby or a more discreet entrance. He is expected to head to a courtroom at 3 p.m. EST to appear before a judge. Security will be tight and overseen by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service.
The area around the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. federal courthouse can tend to be congested, with several other government buildings in the vicinity and a train station across the street.

The Miami-Dade County mayor’s spokesperson said the county police department was prepared to assist but hadn’t received any federal requests for security support as of Friday afternoon.

The police chief for the city of Miami, Manuel Morales, said in a statement: “We’re committed to protecting everyone’s First Amendment right and will continue to serve our residents, business owners, and visitors while maintaining the safety of our community.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation urged agents to be alert outside Miami. After agents raided Trump’s Florida Mar-a-Lago home in August, officials registered a spike in threats, including a man in western Pennsylvania charged with threatening to kill agents and an armed attacker at the bureau’s Cincinnati field office.

The Police Department of New York City stepped up its uniformed presence across the city when Trump appeared at a courthouse in lower Manhattan in April out of concerns for potential violence from protestors. However, while some protestors showed up in New York, fears of widespread unrest were unrealized.

Former President Trump faces 37 counts of seven charges, including withholding a record, false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and willful retention of national-defense information. The classified documents Trump kept in his boxes at his estate included information about U.S. and weapons and foreign defense capabilities, potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. and its allies, nuclear programs, and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack, according to the indictment.

On five of the counts, the former president was charged alongside Walt Nauta, his military valet, who went to work at Mar-a-Lago after the White House. Nauta separately faces a false-statements charge.