Will Donald Trump be fingerprinted and handcuffed in NYC?

Donald J. Trump

Trump calls for protests ahead of his anticipated indictment in New York have generated mostly muted reactions from supporters, with even some of his most ardent loyalists dismissing the idea as a waste of time or a law enforcement trap. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

After Donald Trump announced this weekend that he expects to be arrested Tuesday, speculation spread about what his hypothetical arrest might look like. Could the public expect to see the former president perp-walked into Manhattan Criminal Court in handcuffs?

Former New York City prosecutors and a defense attorney laid out to Law&Crime what aspects of Trump’s possible processing have been made clear under the statute and what elements may depend on the discretion of law enforcement — or Trump himself.

“He must be fingerprinted, and the fingerprints are sent to Albany,” former Brooklyn homicide prosecutor Julie Rendelman said in an interview.

“They are not required to handcuff him,” noted Rendelman, a Law&Crime legal analyst. “Nor is a ‘perp walk’ required.”

Fingerprinting takes place at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office at 1 Hogan Place, and she said that those prints are sent to New York’s capital of Albany, which typically takes “some hours.”

Then, the walk over to 100 Center Street begins, where throngs of reporters from across the world surely would be waiting for Trump. The former president’s ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon was handcuffed behind his back and smirking when reporters photographed him walking into court in metal restraints. Experts say that law enforcement has broad discretion over whether that is necessary — and so does Trump.

Rendelman doesn’t expect that to happen — “unless Trump wants it that way.”

“It would not be farfetched to imagine that if Trump is indicted he might want to be put in handcuffs for the world to see,” she noted. “From his perspective, such a scene would further enrage those who support him and view his arrest as purely political.”

In a stream of all-caps in his social media posts, Trump called for his supporters to “protest,” using messaging that many commentators likened to his calls before the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol


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