Trump due in court to face historic criminal charges

Donald Trump will make an unprecedented appearance before a New York judge Tuesday to answer criminal charges that threaten to throw the entire 2024 White House race into turmoil.

Trump is the first sitting or former American president to be criminally indicted -- a historic development that has propelled the United States into uncharted political waters.

Amid tight security in Manhattan -- and a global media frenzy -- the 76-year-old will learn at his arraignment precisely what charges he faces over hush money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election that brought him to power.

The twice-impeached Republican claims he is the victim of "political persecution" -- but is also using the case to energize his support base, and raise millions of dollars for his bid to reclaim the White House next year.

Trump is expected to leave his skyscraper on Fifth Avenue late morning to make the six-mile journey to the Manhattan court complex where he will surrender to authorities.

Thousands of police, and unknown numbers of Trump supporters and detractors, will be on the streets for the journey that will be carried live on US networks -- although it was not yet known if the hearing itself would be televised.

Trump is likely to undergo the standard booking procedure of being fingerprinted -- and potentially photographed, which would result in an all-time famous mug shot.

But there is no precedent for a former president's surrender to court authorities and it remains to be seen whether the famously unpredictable Trump will follow procedure.

A "perp walk" -- in which a defendant is escorted in handcuffs past media cameras -- is unlikely for an ex-president under US Secret Service protection.

What is certain is that...

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