Former President Donald Trump would likely dodge a perp walk but still be fingerprinted, have his mugshot taken — and possibly be led into Manhattan court in cuffs — if indicted on fraud-related raps as expected.
The ex-commander-in-chief appears set to become the first former president to be criminally prosecuted in the US, a stunning turn that would throw the country’s legal system into “unprecedented territory,” experts say.
As a Manhattan grand jury weighs whether to indict Trump, the 76-year-old ex-prez has already predicted he will end up arrested.
Trump is accused of directing his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign to buy her silence over their affair in 2006 — the year after he married wife Melania — and then illegally cover it up.
Trump has vehemently denied the claims, including on his Truth Social online platform Tuesday.
“In the history of our Country there cannot have been a more damaged or less credible witness at trial than fully disbarred lawyer and felon, Michael Cohen,’’ Trump seethed, referring to Cohen’s related conviction in the case.
Here is what happens next if Trump is indicted:
What is an indictment?
An indictment solidifies the charges against a defendant, meaning a grand jury has determined there is enough evidence to warrant a trial after reviewing testimony presented solely by prosecutors.
Grand-jury proceedings are held in secret, and their findings are usually first released by a judge at the suspect’s arraignment.
Still, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could make the finding public beforehand, given the importance of the case. And there are always leaks.
“This is unprecedented territory,’’ said defense lawyer and former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Bederow to The Post on Tuesday.
What charges would Trump face?
It is unclear what exact raps Trump could face, given the secrecy surrounding the grand jury.
But sources familiar with the proceeding have said the case involves the alleged falsifying of business records, or bookkeeping fraud, over the hush money to aid Trump’s election, which could also constitute a campaign-finance violation.
The alleged criminal deed would amount to a reported “low-level felony’’ for which Trump could face up to four years in prison if convicted.
What would immediately happen if Trump is indicted?
Bragg’s office would call Trump’s lawyers to inform them of the grand jury’s decision, and negotiations would immediately begin for the former president’s surrender.
While typically a suspect is arraigned — or brought before a judge to enter a plea — within a day, Trump’s case is unique because of the security ramifications it brings, experts say.
Trying to get safeguards in place in the event of widespread and potentially violent protests has been at the top of the list for everyone from the NYPD to the Secret Service for days.
So it is unclear exactly how long after an indictment Trump would be hauled into court.
“When have we ever seen the Secret Service be involved in discussions on how to book and arraign a defendant in New York state court?’’ Bederow noted.
“On the one hand, Trump should be treated like any other person arrested. On the other hand, he is a former president and current candidate.
“There is no roadmap or precedent.”
Would there be a humiliating perp walk?
Given the sensitivity of the case and the fact that Trump’s camp said he would fly to the city from Florida if indicted and voluntarily surrender, experts say there appears little chance the former president would be paraded handcuffed in front of the cameras on his way from a police precinct to Central Booking.
Instead, as is typical with white-collar suspects who surrender, Trump and his lawyers would freely walk into the Manhattan DA’s Office at the agreed-upon time to be processed.
“The DA would be foolish to perp-walk Trump,’’ Bederow said. “They would be playing directly into Team Trump’s narrative that this a political prosecution, and also unquestionably, they would be provoking and riling up the Trump supporters.
“I expect they will try to de-escalate this entire process by not perp-walking him and possibly by even avoiding cuffing him, although that will piss off those people who want to see Trump humiliated.”
Would Trump have his mugshot taken?
If Trump is charged, he would be “booked’’ at the DA’s office, meaning he would be read his Miranda Rights, fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken.
State law prohibits authorities from releasing mugshots, but Trump’s could still be leaked to the press.
It is unclear if the former prez would be DNA-swabbed, with some experts saying it would not be unnecessary, given DNA is immaterial to his alleged crime, but that would be up to the arresting agency, in this case the DA’s office.
Would Trump be handcuffed?
Trump would likely dodge handcuffs at least until he is brought into court for arraignment.
But he could be cuffed when walked into the courtroom, at which time his lawyer would request they be removed.
The decision on whether Trump would be handcuffed while led into court is up to the arresting agency, the DA’s office, court officials said.
What would happen during Trump’s first appearance court?
Trump’s lawyers would ask that he be released on his own recognizance, and the judge would presumably agree, deeming him not a flight risk given the former president’s uber-high profile and ongoing candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.
The former commander-in-chief also has New York’s bail-reform laws in his favor.
The laws require non-violent felonies to be freed without bail unless they are considered a flight risk.
When would Trump go on trial?
Jury selection alone could be exhaustive in a case involving the former president, so experts say they would not expect any trial to begin for months, even possibly after the 2024 election.
Could Trump still run for officeor be elected if indicted?
It appears Trump could continue to run for office, be elected and serve even if indicted and convicted, under current law.