Trump arrives in Florida ahead of court appearance

Source: BBC

Donald Trump is spending the night in Miami, Florida, before he appears in court there on Tuesday charged with mishandling national security files.

The former US president flew from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to his Trump Doral resort near Miami.

Mr Trump is facing dozens of charges of illegally retaining classified information, including some about nuclear secrets.

It is the second time this year he has been charged with a crime.

Mr Trump, campaigning to make a return to the White House in 2024, has denied wrongdoing as he faces the first ever federal criminal prosecution against a former US president.

He appeared muted but unflustered as he strolled into the steakhouse at his Miami golf resort on Monday evening.

Mr Trump greeted the smattering of guests at the BLT Prime restaurant with his signature thumbs-up, and even posed for a photo with a group of men enjoying their happy hour.

“With you all the way!” shouted one patron seated at the bar.

“Thank you very much,” Mr Trump replied, before security escorted him to the dining area.

The guests had an inkling of Mr Trump’s arrival when several security agents appeared and casually swept diners with metal detectors. A few had their phones ready to snap photos.

The staff, on the other hand, were nonchalant about their boss’ presence, continuing to mix drinks and serve guests.

A handful of supporters were also at the bar. One woman sipped wine with a Trump flag draped over the back of her chair.

Mr Trump has continued to strike a defiant tone. In an interview on a Spanish-language talk radio programme in Miami, he aired grievances with the indictment, while accusing the Biden administration of weaponising law enforcement agencies against him.

Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told reporters the city was preparing for Mr Trump’s court appearance.

Police will be deployed in anticipation of crowds up to 50,000 people, he said, though other sources told US media the expected number was in the low thousands.

“We encourage people to be peaceful,” Mr Suarez said.

On Saturday, in his first public appearances since the charges were filed, Mr Trump said the case amounted to “election interference” by the “corrupt” FBI and justice department.

The former president will appear in court alongside a close aide, Walt Nauta, who was charged by the same grand jury in Florida.

Mr Nauta faces six criminal counts related to alleged handling of national security documents. Both men are scheduled to make their initial appearances at 15:00 local time (20:00 BST).

A federal judge denied a request by news organisations for photo and video access during Tuesday’s hearing – though a court sketch artist will be present.

Afterwards, Mr Trump is expected to return to Bedminster to make remarks to the media.

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