A Donald Trump mugshot? Fingerprints? What happens next after Trump indictment

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Donald Trump's indictment means that even though he is the first former president of the United States to be charged with a crime, he will be treated – to some degree, anyway – just like any other defendant in the criminal justice system.

Trump is expected to surrender to authorities this afternoon at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he will be processed and later arraigned. He will enter a not guilty plea, according to his lawyer, Joe Tacopina.

In one departure from the usual process, Trump is not expected to be subjected to a mug shot, Tacopina told USA TODAY on Tuesday. The Trump attorney did not elaborate on why that is the case, but a person familiar with the matter said the decision was ultimately made by the Manhattan district attorney's office.

Because Trump is the first former president in history to face criminal charges, there was much anticipation that such a photograph would go viral or that Trump could use it as a fundraising tool in his bid to reclaim the White House.

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Trump will be taken into custody and, for the most part, processed just like any other defendant, including a booking number, former prosecutors and law enforcement officials told USA TODAY. “There will still be ... fingerprints and lots of paperwork filled out as part of the booking process,” as with other defendants, said former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.

Underscoring the unprecedented nature of the case, it is expected that Trump will be accompanied through the process by his Secret Service detail. Former presidents are afforded such protection for life.

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The Manhattan District Attorney’s office acknowledged late last Thursday that Trump’s lawyers had been notified of the indictment, but the details have not been made public. “This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender … for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal,” a spokesperson for District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

Former president Donald Trump's 757 jet is parked at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 30, 2023.
Former president Donald Trump's 757 jet is parked at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 30, 2023.

And while some accommodations are being made during the booking process, getting Trump to the courthouse could be another matter entirely.

Given his special stature, Trump's first appearance could be a relatively calm event, with special efforts made by prosecutors and police to shield him from the kind of "perp walk" that authorities sometimes force other defendants to endure. That means a march – often in handcuffs – past the throngs of New York media. In some cases, some defendants have chosen to be taken into custody that way in an effort to make a statement about their arrest and the charges against them.

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"It's safe to say it will be a complete circus, and that’s an understatement," said Matt Dallek, a presidential historian."

On Tuesday morning, the New York Times reported that Trump likely will not have his mug shot taken due to his public stature, the determination he is not a flight risk and the security complications posed by having his photo taken.

Citing "several people with knowledge of the matter," the Times said law enforcement officials have discretion over whether they need to take a mug shot.

Besides the fact that everyone knows who Trump is and what he looks like, the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building "does not have the equipment necessary to take Mr. Trump’s mug shot," the Times said. "That means doing so would require that he be taken to either the Police Department’s Central Booking facility or to the Manhattan Detention Complex, which would entail more movements for the former president."

Josh Meyer is domestic security correspondent for USA TODAY. Follow him on Twitter at @joshmeyerdc 

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What happens after Trump indictment? fingerprints