Trump ‘wants to turn arrest into spectacle’ as police barricade his New York skyscraper
Donald Trump is relishing the idea of a “perp walk” if he is indicted and appears in court, amid reports that he wants to turn his potential arrest into a “spectacle” to fire up his supporters.
The former president told friends he 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”.
Mr Trump’s expected indictment was delayed after the Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence against him was postponed on Wednesday without a reason given.
Fox News reported that Wednesday’s session was cancelled amid “major dissension” within the district attorney’s office and over concerns the grand jury is not convinced on the evidence. The pause is likely to delay the process into next week, sources said.
Steel barriers were set up outside the Manhattan Criminal Court and Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue as New York remained on high alert for unrest after Mr Trump called for protests.
If, as expected, the 76-year-old is charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for allegedly covering up “hush-money” payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels leading up to the 2016 presidential election, he will be ordered to travel from his home in Florida to hand himself in.
Allies of Mr Trump told the New York Times he wanted the opportunity to demonstrate to the public he was not skulking away in shame. “He wants to be defiant – to show the world that if they can try to do this to him, they can do it to anyone,” one source close to the former president said.
Legal experts say, however, that if Mr Trump is indicted and surrenders voluntarily, it is very unlikely that police and the court system will treat him the same as any other white-collar defendant.
Arrangements would be made between the Secret Service and law enforcement to avoid a media circus. He would be fingerprinted and a mugshot would be taken, although he is not expected to be “perp-walked” or paraded before the public in handcuffs, New York law enforcement officials have said.
Mr Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, has insisted the process will be orderly, telling the New York Daily News: “There won’t be a standoff at Mar-a-Lago with the Secret Service and the Manhattan DA’s office.”
Friends of Mr Trump who have spent time with him in recent days claim he appears disconnected from the gravity of the charges he is facing.
In recent days the former president was reportedly DJing at a party at his Palm Beach resort playing music from his personally curated Spotify playlists featuring songs from Phantom of the Opera and the Rolling Stones. He was also sighted zipping around the resort in his golf cart.
Meanwhile, polls taken since the former president posted over the weekend about his imminent arrest show he has now taken a 28-point lead over Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, who is widely expected to challenge him for the Republican nomination.
Mr DeSantis garnered just 26 per cent of support, according to a new Morning Consult poll, with Mr Trump taking 54 per cent. That is the lowest figure Mr DeSantis has taken in this survey since December.
Mr Trump stepped up his verbal attacks on Mr DeSantis after the Florida governor teased a White House bid in an interview with TalkTV’s Piers Morgan.
Mr DeSantis dismissed the mudslinging from the former president as “background noise” and called in to question Mr Trump’s character and conduct in the interview, which airs in full on Thursday.
In response, Mr Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform: “While I am fighting against Radical Left Lunatics, Persecutors, and unfair Prosecutors... [DeSantis] is too busy chatting with a Ratings Challenged TV Host from England, desperately trying to rescue his failing Campaign.”
It comes after John Bolton, who served as national security adviser for a period of Donald Trump’s presidency, said that the Republican Party should “cleanse itself” of the former president.
Mr Trump is due to speak at a presidential campaign rally in Texas on Saturday.