DC security officials bracing for crowds, congestion at Trump’s Thursday arraignment

August 2, 2023

Washington DC security officials have been preparing for former President Trump’s scheduled Thursday arraignment on four criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 Election.

Trump’s latest arraignment is scheduled for 4pm ET Thursday at the E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue in DC. 

Already news media organizations were setting up camp Wednesday outside the court. The number of outlets already present was expected to double by Thursday’s arraignment. 

DC residents are used to high profile cases, but the arraignment of a former U.S. President had locals bracing for a higher-than-usual number of road closures and aggravated traffic congestion along with increased security. 

In a statement Tuesday night, the DC Police said, “The Metropolitan Police department is working closely with our federal law enforcement partners to monitor the situation and plan accordingly to ensure the safety of DC residents.”

Security has also been tightened outside the DC jail where some of the more-than 500 people sentenced in the January 6, 2021 deadly insurrection on the U.S. Capitol are serving time. Supporters and demonstrators gathered at the jail grounds Tuesday night. They were reportedly loud but peaceful.

A federal grand jury voted Tuesday to indict Trump on four criminal counts related to the 2020 election and January 6, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.

Trump’s first court appearance Thursday was set to take place before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya, who handles initial matters in federal cases.

It will be the former President’s third arraignment this year—an unprecedented occurrence in U.S. history.

In April, Trump was pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy related to his alleged role in hush money payments during the 2016 campaign season. That indictment came down in New York State court.

On June 13, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts handed up by a Florida grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his handling of classified documents post-Presidency. Last month the special counsel added three new charges in a superseding indictment related to alleged efforts to conceal surveillance video footage from Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, that had been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice.

During Trump’s arraignments in both cases, moderately-sized crowds gathered outside the courthouses in New York City and Miami without any security issues arising that were of note. 

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