Manhattan before Trump’s trial

New York was the focus of the nation’s attention on Tuesday as Donald Trump appeared in a Manhattan courtroom on criminal charges following the unprecedented indictment of a former president amid a raucous and raucous crowd of fans, foes and reporters.

As Trump emerged from his motorcade in a black SUV at approximately 1:24 p.m. (Eastern), anti-Trump protesters erupted with cheers, clanging cowbells, banging and banging drums and loud whistles. The former president then entered the courthouse to be fingerprinted and arrested.

Trump supporters and critics filled the park in front of the courthouse, which was mostly peaceful but included some brief scuffles and clashes between protesters. Some carried signs celebrating the impeachment of the 45th president, while fervent Trump supporters told reporters they would continue to stand behind the former president regardless of the charges.

The city was on high alert for the afternoon hearing, with officials promising heightened security and urging anyone planning to protest to behave.

“New York is always, always ready,” Mayor Eric Adams said Monday. “While there may be some troublemakers, our message is plain and simple: control yourself.”

Dozens of members of the media, as well as some members of the public, had been lined up since Monday to enter the courtroom for Trump’s impeachment.

The charges stem from alleged payments to a porn star in the final days of the 2016 campaign, marking the first time a former US president has been prosecuted.

The indictment will be released Tuesday, revealing the exact charges that a New York grand jury voted to bring against Trump. The charges are expected to be related to a $130,000 payment by her former lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels, allegedly to keep her from publicly saying she had an affair with Trump. The former president has been accused of hiding his compensation to Cohen by channeling it through his business and recording the payments as legal services.

Trump faces separate investigations into his alleged attempts to interfere in the 2020 election. alleged involvement in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021; and handling classified documents after leaving office.

As pedestrians walked to work or walked their dogs near the criminal courthouse in Lower Manhattan early Tuesday morning, hundreds of reporters, including television cameras, photographers and reporters, gathered across the street as helicopters circled overhead.

The park is basically divided into two camps separated by a line of barricades. those who support the president and those who do not. One side encouraged “block him,” echoing the same cheers Trump once led at his own rallies for his political opponents.

There were cowbells and whistles, and one person held a sign that read “thanks Alvin,” a reference to the district attorney who prosecuted the case. Another man wore a Trump mask and a black-and-white prison uniform.

On the other side of them stand Trump supporters, waving Trump 2024 flags, wearing MAGA hats and erupting in USA chants.

Anti-Trump protesters at one point dropped a huge banner reading “Trump lies all the time,” sparking scuffles between opposing sides. Supporters of the former president damaged the poster.

As of 11:30 a.m. (Eastern), the NYPD reported that no arrests had been made, but officers had to isolate several similar faces.

Adams and New York Police Commissioner Keith L. Sewell said there had been no concrete or credible threats ahead of Trump’s court appearance, but the city would significantly increase its police presence as a precaution.

Layers of fencing and barricades were put up in and around Trump Tower on Monday. City officials have urged people to use public transportation, warning that Tuesday’s hearing and possible protests will bring significant traffic to the area.

Sections of the park in front of the courthouse were also cordoned off Tuesday morning, and law enforcement officers, from uniformed police officers and community affairs officers to members of the NYPD’s tactical response unit, stood guard. New York State court officers, who are normally stationed at the courthouse, also patrolled the area.

Among the Trump fans walking around the park was Norman Ross, wearing a blue Trump hat and holding a copy of the New York Post under his arm. He criticized the indictment and said it would have happened even if Trump had been a Democrat.

“I feel like the case isn’t strong enough from what I’m hearing,” said the 59-year-old from Brooklyn. “I’ve seen the persecution of Donald Trump… at least in 2015 when the man got off the escalator. I’m sick of it.”

Nearby, two protesters stood side by side in a park, but on opposite ends when it came to their opinions of Trump. Michael Picard wore an American flag jumpsuit and a Make America Great Again hat. A counter-protester stood next to him, waving signs that read “We believe in Stormy Daniels” and “Trump lies all the time.”

Pickard, 34, traveled from Hartford, Conn. and to say that there is no crime that the president can commit that would preclude his support for the president.

“He is the greatest president of the United States,” he said, adding that Trump’s credentials include “a magnificent head of hair.”

At the other end of the park, scuffles and verbal altercations broke out between protesters, including Juliet Germanotta, who was arrested in past protests and was wearing a MAGA hat. Two counter-protesters wearing “Arrest Trump” shirts took part in the brawl.

Dion Cini of Brooklyn carried a “Trump or Death” banner with the dates 1776 and 2024 and Trump’s face.

He criticized the allegations against Trump, saying there was “real crime” going on in his neighborhood. Even if Trump was guilty of the crimes described in the indictment, he said the former president failed to cross the line that would prompt him to turn against Trump.

“Like [Trump] said he could shoot somebody on 5th avenue and I don’t really care because what he’s doing for America far outweighs, you know, even a crime like that,” Sini said. “He said. I didn’t. But I support him because he is the only American president who has ever said, ever since George Washington, that America came first. No president has ever said that.”

Jennifer Fisher held a small American flag and a sign that read, “Trump’s trials have just begun.”

“They wouldn’t have charged if they didn’t have the evidence,” said Fisher, 63, who lives in Manhattan and is retired. “It’s not political, it’s justice.”

As Trump’s trial approached Tuesday, the mood at the park remained tense and high. Protesters on both ends continued to shout at each other from behind barricades while police separated the two sides.

More than a dozen supporters of the former president started chanting. referring to the Manhattan area. Atty. Alvin Bragg, who presented the case against Trump.

When a Newsmax cameraman tried to film the anti-Trump protesters, the protesters followed them, chanting “fake news,” played cowbells in the background, and put a black umbrella over the reporter’s face.

The pro-Trump news organization is known for pushing conspiracy theories on air and is currently in a defamation battle with Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s alleged role in spreading false information about the 2020 election.

Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, known for wild conspiracy theories, arrived at about 10:30 a.m., addressing Trump supporters who waved pro-Trump and American flags while critics loudly derided him as a conspiracy theorist.

As he walked back to his car, surrounded by security and law enforcement, people yelled at him, using profanity, urging him to get out of New York City.

“The conspiracy theorist is coming, get out of the way,” a man yelled as Green tried to make his way through the crowd.

George Santos, the freshman Republican congressman from New York who lied about his resume and is under investigation, was also seen in a park across from the courthouse and pushed through the press, ignoring shouting questions about the broad investigation he is facing.

Trump critic Nadine Seiler stood nearby holding a banner that read: “Finally coming. Trump was arrested.”

Seiler, 57, has been outside the White House every day since Thursday, but decided to travel to New York from his home in Waldorf, Md., on Monday after hearing Green was in New York.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene brought me here,” says Seiler, the house’s organizer, “I had no plans to come here. But when he decided he was going to bring his thugs to New York, I felt compelled to come.”

Seiler added that he believes Green wants a “second rebellion” and is trying to get Trump supporters to take action.

“They are disconnected from reality,” he said.

Trump also called for protests since news of a possible indictment emerged in mid-March, but large crowds never materialized. However, the potential for violence remains a concern.

During Monday’s press conference, Adams singled out Green, saying: “While we don’t have specific threats, people like Marjorie Taylor Green, who is known for spreading misinformation and hate speech, she announced that she is coming to town.”

He had a message for the congressman and other protesters. “While you’re in town, be on your best behavior.”

Still, others flocked to the courthouse to witness the historic moment.

William Bond and his son Alex stood against a barricade and confronted pro-Trump protesters.

Their family traveled from Monrovia, Calif., to New York and Washington for a family vacation, and their timing coincided with Tuesday’s trial.

“Part of this trip was coming from California to experience the heart and center of the US financial and political world, and this is a great opportunity to see both at once,” Bond said.

Chants and cowbells rang out as her 14-year-old son looked on.

“For the rest of his life, he’ll be able to hear about this moment from other people,” Bond said of his son. “He’ll be able to say that’s what it was for.”

Times staff writers Petrie reported from New York and Hernandez and Winton from Los Angeles.

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