Donald Trump will make his 1st court appearance in DC. Here’s what to expect

D.C. dump trucks and snow plows block off the area surrounding the courthouse where Trump will appear. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)
The U.S. Secret Service is expected to drive Trump down into the courthouse garage, where U.S. Marshals will take him for processing, CBS News has learned. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)
The gate in front of the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse where Trump is set to appear Thursday. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)

Caravans of news trucks have descended upon downtown D.C. as former President Donald Trump is set to make an appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon on felony charges that he worked to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol.

Here’s what you need to know.

More on the latest Trump indictment

Reporters and news trucks have swarmed the area around the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse on Constitution Avenue in D.C. Thursday.

A small group of Trump supporters have also gathered.

It’s expected that Trump will be transported by motorcade from Reagan National Airport to the courthouse, which is under heavy security.

On Wednesday night, workers placed metal barricades around the courthouse area. WTOP’s Kyle Cooper, reporting from the scene on Thursday morning, said the fencing stood about 3 feet high and wraps all the way around the courthouse.

Cooper said that there is increased police presence outside the courthouse, as well as dump trucks and snow plows often used in the District to block intersections during large events.

(Video courtesy 7News)

The plan calls for the U.S. Secret Service to drive Trump down into the courthouse garage, where U.S. Marshals will take him for processing, CBS News reported. Trump’s arraignment is expected to unfold similar to what happened in Miami, with digital fingerprints being collected but no photo taken.

“We may not see him at all and the hearing may be very short,” Cooper said.

Trump will appear on Thursday before Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya. Such judges handle initial matters in federal cases.

Going forward, the case will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama who has stood out as one of the toughest punishers of the Capitol rioters.

For months following the events of Jan. 6, 2021, fencing and barriers around the Capitol remained, blocking access to areas and roads, forcing drivers and D.C. residents to circumvent the area in order to get around. Several lawmakers called for the fencing to come down.

U.S. Capitol Police said they do not want the focus to be on them or Capitol Hill, and told NBC Washington that they are not saying anything about the indictment. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said plans do not include fencing around the Capitol, The Washington Post reported.

The Secret Service said it does not comment on specific protective means or methods.

“We are working closely with the Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Park Police, U.S. Capitol Police and the Federal Protective Service to ensure the highest levels of safety and security for the former president, while minimizing disruptions to the normal court process,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.

D.C. police have not released any road closures related to Trump’s court appearance, but road delays should be expected downtown.

In a statement to WTOP, police said they would “monitor the situation and plan accordingly to ensure the safety of D.C. residents and visitors.”

WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up