The Big Apple is ready to batten down the hatches and mobilize 700 riot cops ahead of former President Donald Trump‘s anticipated arrest early this week.
State, city and federal law enforcement agencies have been meeting in recent weeks to discuss how to deal with expected widespread protests following Trump’s arrest, as his supporters have already started descending on Trump Tower.
The New York Police Department is even considering stationing hundreds of riot cops, the Daily Beast reports, fearing that Trump’s arrest may cause both MAGA conservatives and anti-Trump protesters to face off outside Manhattan Criminal Court as he is arraigned.
Trump is set to face criminal charges for $130,000 payments his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid to porn star Stormy Daniels towards the end of his 2016 campaign. Prosecutors say the payment violated campaign finance laws, and was made to silence Daniels about an affair she had with the mogul.
Several MAGA fans have now descended on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in a brazen attempt to prevent his arrest.
Former President Donald Trump (pictured here on Saturday) is expected to be arrested early this week on New York state charges for alleged hush money payments he made to Stormy Daniels
Former President Trump urged his supporters to ‘protest’ as he claimed he expects to be arrested as early as Tuesday
Two of the former president’s supporters are pictured here outside Trump Tower on Friday for New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade
Representatives from the New York Police Department told the Daily Beast they are closely monitoring social media, and are working with federal authorities and other police departments, to assess the size of any protests.
The force may deploy its ‘Strategic Response Group,’ comprising 700 members trained in ‘disaster control.’
And, if necessary, they said, they could escalate the situation by deploying a Level 4 alert — which would put eight cops and one sergeant on standby at every precinct across New York City.
At the same time, authorities may mobilize officers who provide security at the state Supreme Court building in lower Manhattan as they fear both pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters will convene outside of the Manhattan Criminal Court — leading to potential violence.
The NYPD and FBI are also coordinating a contingency plan to deal with an increase in threats to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his staff if some of Trump’s more extremist supporters were to target them.
And Secret Service agents in charge of Trump’s detail in South Florida, as well as those in New York, are said to be coordinating how they will get Trump into the District Attorney’s office through the crowds of protesters and the media.
Part of that discussion, CNN reports, citing people with knowledge of the conversations, included the need to secure an area for a possible press conference outside Trump Tower.
The New York Police Department is now preparing for violent clashes outside Trump Tower if the former president is arrested
Trump posted this photo of his supporters at the St. Patrick’s Day parade to his Truth Social on Saturday
A street performer known as Crackhead Barney interacts with supporters of former president Trump at the parade
Dion Cini shows off a MAGA t-shirt after introducing himself as the regional leader of ‘white lives matter’ at the St. Patrick’s Day parade
One Trump supporter is seen here with Trump sneakers stepping on a poster emblazoned with the face of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential challenger in 2024
Trump has said he expects to be arrested as early as Tuesday on state charges for the payouts to Stormy Daniels, as he urged his supporters to ‘protest, protest, protest.’
Several have already heeded that advice, planning a moat around Mar-a-Lago in South Florida to prevent his arrest while others gathered outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan.
In response, Manhattan District Attorney Bragg released a memo reassuring his office staff of their safety and claiming that law enforcement are on alert investigating any threats.
He did not use Trump’s name, but mentioned that the threats were related to an ‘ongoing investigation by this office.’
‘Please know that your safety is our top priority,’ Bragg said in the memo first reported by Politico.
‘We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,’ he added.
Bragg had earlier presented evidence to a New York grand jury about the $130,000 payment to Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair.
The payment was listed as ‘legal expenses’ which Bragg’s office says is a violation of New York law which prohibits falsifying business records.
Trump has repeatedly denied these claims, and his lawyer has accused Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — of extortion.
But if he were to be indicted, authorities would set a date and time for Trump’s surrender, at which point he would be brought directly to an arraignment before a judge, where he would likely be released on his own recognizance.
And as with every other defendant in New York, Bragg has said Trump would be fingerprinted and brought in to take a mugshot.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (pictured in February) has said his office will not be intimidated as he considers bringing criminal charges against the former president
The NYPD s preparing to mobilize its ‘Strategic Response Group,’ comprising 700 members trained in ‘disaster control’ to confront protesters
Sources have previously told Fox News that the Secret Service will ‘take the lead’ over what they will and will not allow as part of the arrest.
‘Some sources familiar with the planning said they will go over security preparations in and around the courthouse in lower Manhattan,’ Fox Corp. anchor John Roberts told viewers.
‘Secret Service will take the lead in what they will allow or will not allow, the source cautioned, mentioning for instance, that the decision to handcuff the president, the former president, or not, they will set the tone and will escort him into the courtroom.’
Under normal protocol, a defendant would be taken to a New York City courthouse and placed in a processing room.
They would then be briefly put in a jail cell, booked, fingerprinted, photographed for a mugshot and handcuffed.
From there they would be escorted – still handcuffed – into a courtroom in full view of the media.
However Trump is in a highly unique position as the former US president meaning he is protected at all times by the Secret Service.
It is not yet clear whether he will be escorted into the courtroom by court security staff or his Secret Service agents.
Were he charged, Trump would become the first former U.S. president to face criminal prosecution.