Donald Trump's lawyer hopes court hearing will stay 'painless and classy'

Former US President Donald Trump is set to make public remarks in Florida on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) after being arraigned in New York City on an indictment by a grand jury that heard evidence on hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election, while his lawyer said on Sunday he anticipates moving to dismiss the charges.

Trump, 76, is expected to be arraigned, fingerprinted and photographed at a Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday (local time) as he becomes the first former US president to face criminal charges.

Joe Tacopina, a Trump lawyer, said he expects more details surrounding the arraignment to be resolved on Monday and noted that the Secret Service, which protects former presidents, also has a role to play on Tuesday.

"All the Tuesday stuff is still very much up in the air, other than the fact that we will very loudly and proudly say, 'Not guilty,'" Tacopino told CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"Hopefully this will be as painless and classy as possible for a situation like this," Tacopino added, portraying the charges as politically motivated to harm Trump as he seeks to regain the presidency in 2024.

Tacopina said it was unlikely there will be a "perp walk," where an individual who has been charged is paraded in front of the news media, because of security concerns.

Before the indictment, the grand jury heard evidence about a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels has said she was paid to keep silent about a sexual encounter she had with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied any such encounter.

Word of the indictment surfaced on Thursday though the specific charges against Trump arising from the investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, have not been made public.

"We're not doing anything at the arraignment because that would be showmanship and nothing more - because we haven't even seen the indictment," Tacopina said.

Tacopina added that Trump's lawyers will dissect the indictment once it is made public and will look at "every potential issue" to challenge.

"And of course I very much anticipate a motion to dismiss coming because there's no law that fits this," Tacopina added.

A court official said the arraignment is scheduled for 2:15pm on Tuesday (6:15am NZ time on Wednesday). The official said the judge has asked both sides to submit their positions on whether cameras and video should be allowed in the courtroom.

Former US President Donald Trump.
Former US President Donald Trump. Photo credit: Getty Images

Trump plans to deliver remarks at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach at 8:15 pm on Tuesday (12:15pm NZ time on Wednesday), his office said on Sunday.

The Trump campaign declined to comment on what he will say. A source familiar with the matter said the Republican businessman-turned-politician is likely to focus on what he feels is his political persecution and "the political weaponization of the justice system to manipulate an election."


Trump, who launched his 2024 candidacy in November, plans to fly to New York on Monday from Mar-a-Lago and spend the night at Trump Tower before his court appearance, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

Trump is expected to appear before Justice Juan Merchan of the criminal court in Manhattan. Merchan also presided over a criminal trial last year in which Trump's real estate company was convicted of tax fraud, though Trump himself was not charged.

Trump on Friday lashed out at Merchan, saying the judge hates him and treated the Trump Organization "viciously."

On Sunday, Tacopina sidestepped questions about whether Trump's team will seek to have a new judge assigned.

"I have no issue with this judge whatsoever. He has a very good reputation," Tacopina said.

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his candidacy on Sunday for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and called on Trump to drop out of the race.

"I think it's a sad day for America that we have a former president that's indicted," Hutchinson said on ABC's "This Week."

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his candidacy on Monday (NZ time) for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his candidacy on Monday (NZ time) for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Photo credit: Getty Images

Asked whether Trump should step aside from the race, Hutchinson said, "Well, he should, but at the same time, we know he's not."

No other Republican candidate or potential candidate has made such a call. Prominent Republicans, including Trump's former and future presidential rivals, have joined him in portraying the charges as political.

"I do think this is politically motivated," Republican US Representative Mike Turner said of the indictment on CNN's "State of the Union." "It's one thing when you have a cancel culture. It's another when you have a cancel criminal justice system."

A handful of Trump supporters gathered on a bridge across from Mar-a-Lago on Sunday, included a woman who drove 23 hours from Detroit.

"I'm here because I want to support my president - it's a simple concept," said Debbie Macchia, 58, who noted that she has slept in her car since Thursday.