Mugshot and fingerprints: What happens now Donald Trump is facing criminal charges

Donald Trump will become the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime
Donald Trump will become the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime

Donald Trump has been indicted in New York for allegedly covering up hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign and is now facing criminal charges.

He will become the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime.

Where is Donald Trump now?

Mr Trump is believed to be at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. His private Boeing 757 - dubbed Trump Force One - is on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport.

When will he be arrested?

Donald Trump’s lawyers have indicated that he may surrender to authorities, which would mean travelling to New York and handing himself in.

He is not expected in court until next week and is likely to be released on bail.

Can he refuse to appear?

He could refuse to leave and hand himself in, essentially challenging the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to arrest him.

“One could imagine Trump wanting to do that for the politics and the optics, to make himself look more sympathetic,” said Shan Wu, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice.

Trump with Stormy Daniels
Trump with Stormy Daniels

How would he be arrested in Florida?

In this scenario, an extradition request would be made – and have to be signed by Mr Trump’s probable Republican rival for the 2024 nomination, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida.

In practical terms, the Manhattan DA’s office would present the indictment to the office of Kathy Hochul, the Democrat governor of New York.

She would then send a written extradition demand to Mr DeSantis, along with a copy of the indictment.

Mr DeSantis’s role has been described as “purely administrative” in that it is to make sure the indictment is valid, and he would be expected to order the extradition.

Can Ron DeSantis refuse to extradite Mr Trump?

On Thursday Mr DeSantis said he will not abide by any extradition request for Mr Trump.

But there is little wiggle room for the Florida governor.

“If Trump is indicted in New York, both the US Constitution and a federal statute dating to 1793 require DeSantis (or the governor of whatever state Trump is in at the time) to hand him over,” explained Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law school professor and an MSNBC opinion columnist.

“And if DeSantis still refuses, a 1987 Supreme Court decision makes clear that federal courts can order him to comply.”

Mr DeSantis can, however, slow the process down.

According to Michael Bachner, a New York-based lawyer and former assistant DA in Manhattan, he could ask his legal affairs office or a prosecutor to review Ms Hochul’s extradition demand and write a report on it before signing off on it.

But if the extradition demand is legitimate, he’ll have to sign it within 60 days.

And what if Mr Trump still refuses to leave Mar a Lago?

Given that New York police don’t have jurisdiction in Florida, it would likely be Palm Beach Police officers who would go to the property, take him into custody and transfer him to New York.

What happens when he gets to New York?

If he chooses to “self surrender” in New York, he can arrange a time to be booked at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office at One Hogan Place to be processed.

It is unclear whether Mr Trump’s legal team have negotiated special arrangements, or whether he will have to do a “perp walk” in front of flashing cameras.

The former president has reportedly told friends that he actually welcomed the idea of being paraded by the authorities, has debated whether he should smile or not for the cameras, and described the potential event as a "fun experience".

Will he have his mugshot taken?

Yes. After being booked, he will have his fingerprints and mugshot taken.

Will he go to court?

Yes. After being booked he will then be formally arraigned and appear in front of a judge at the Criminal Courts Building. The charges will be read out and he will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty. It is standard for defendants arrested on felony charges to be handcuffed as they are transferred to court.

Could he be held in jail pending trial?

Mr Trump will almost certainly be released on bail straight away.

When would a trial happen?

It takes about a year or so for an indictment in New York to come to trial, which means it could coincide with the presidential election campaign. The timetable would be dictated by the trial judge who, legal experts say, face a “tricky dilemma”.

What is in the case itself?

The case could hinge on the way Mr Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for the payment of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels.

Trump Organisation records classed the reimbursement as legal expenses, which helped conceal their true purpose, Mr Cohen said.

In New York, falsifying business records can be a crime, so the first charge could be more straightforward to prove.

Why is the felony more difficult to prove?

According to The New York Times, local state prosecutors have never filed an election law case involving a federal campaign.

There is a possibility it will rely on a legal theory that has never been evaluated by a judge.

Prosecutors must show that the false business claim was made in order to commit or conceal another crime. That crime could be violating election law, under the theory that the payout served as a donation to Mr Trump’s campaign, because it silenced Ms Daniels and shut down a potential sex scandal in the final stretch of the campaign, the New York Times reported.

What will Mr Trump’s legal team say?

Mr Trump’s lawyers have said that the theory that the money amounted to a campaign donation is not viable.

“We are distorting laws to try and bag President Trump,” said one of his attorney’s, Joe Tacopina.

“He had to pay money because there was going to be an allegation that was going to be publicly embarrassing to him, regardless of the campaign. There is no crime here.”