Former President Donald Trump arrived in Miami on Monday, a day ahead of his first court appearance on 37 felony charges accusing him of illegally taking highly classified documents from the White House to his Florida club and refusing to return them.
Upon arrival, he headed to Miami’s Trump National Doral, where he’s expected to spend the night before his court appearance. A crowd of about 40 supporters lined the route to his golf club, reporters on the scene said, but Trump did not roll down his window or acknowledge them.
Trump has said that Tuesday’s court session will take place at 3 p.m. and he will plead not guilty on all charges. It’s not yet clear whether the former president will appear before Judge Aileen Cannon, the federal judge assigned to the case, or a magistrate judge, as often happens in this kind of initial hearing.
Trump is expected to go through an arraignment ― the formal reading of charges before a defendant ― and enter his not guilty plea Tuesday, though it’s possible the judge may save that for a later date.
The ex-president is expected to head to Miami’s Wilkie D. Ferguson Courthouse ahead of his 3 p.m. appearance before the judge, for processing and ― most likely ― electronic fingerprinting. But reporters covering Miami courts say it’s unlikely Trump will be visible to the public.
“The public won’t see him,” Jay Weaver, who covers federal courts for the Miami Herald, told NPR on Sunday. “I mean, the reality is that when he surrenders, it’ll probably be done through an underground garage.”
Despite that, large crowds are expected at the courthouse Tuesday.
“Make no mistake about it, we’re taking this event extremely serious,” the city’s police chief, Manny Morales, said during a press conference. “We’re ready. Ready for it to be over and done.”
There was a chaotic scene outside of Trump’s arraignment on separate state charges in April. That event, in New York City, drew hundreds of supporters and detractors, some dressed in orange jumpsuits and Trump masks. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and George Santos (R-N.Y.) showed up outside the courthouse to support Trump.
Cameras are generally not allowed in federal courts, so the public likely won’t get a glimpse of Trump in court for this indictment.
After the court hearing, Trump is expected to fly to his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he’s said he will deliver remarks at 8:15 Tuesday evening.