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Former President Trump is back in the center of public attention

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The mayor of New York City has a message for people descending on his city to protest.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ERIC ADAMS: Control yourselves. New York City is our home, not a playground for your misplaced anger.

INSKEEP: No one expresses himself quite like Eric Adams, who spoke as Donald Trump prepares for a court appearance on his indictment today. The former president is back at the center of public attention. He spent the night in his Manhattan apartment and heads downtown around midday for processing and arraignment, fingerprinting and who knows what else. Andrea Bernstein joins us now from outside the Manhattan criminal court. We've been checking in with her throughout the morning. She's already been there for hours. Hey there, Andrea.

ANDREA BERNSTEIN, BYLINE: Hey, Steve.

INSKEEP: So how have you spent the last few hours?

BERNSTEIN: So we all lined up. You know, the line started yesterday afternoon. And we all lined up to get, basically, a place to get into the courthouse later today. Right now, it looks like a pretty normal Manhattan morning, except for the throngs of media tents and people with cameras and security people all around us. But cars are going by. People are going down the bike lane. Tourists are taking selfies and snapping the proceedings. But it looks like a Manhattan street...

INSKEEP: Although, just...

BERNSTEIN: ...A few protesters, not many.

INSKEEP: Yeah, just before we went on the air, I could hear someone shouting in the background. So what was that? Was that a person?

BERNSTEIN: Yes. So there was a Trump impersonator, you know, calling the rest of us fake news who came and went, and a small group of people who have a sign that say Blacks for Trump and somebody standing next to a poster of Hillary Clinton with a sign that says lock him up.

INSKEEP: OK. OK.

BERNSTEIN: But mostly, it's just media here.

INSKEEP: OK. Understood. Well, since there are Trump impersonators around, it's good they are going to fingerprint the former president today to make sure they have the right guy. What is expected to happen today in the courtroom itself?

BERNSTEIN: So we haven't been given an exact time for the former president to arrive. But at some point in the middle of the day, we're told, he will be arriving at this pretty dilapidated courthouse in lower Manhattan, a long way from Trump Tower visually, at least - short in distance. He will be fingerprinted. He will be processed. He will be taken into the courtroom on the 15th floor. And he will be read the charges. The indictment has been sealed up until this moment. But our understanding is that he will be charged with some combination of felonies having to do with falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments made at the end of the 2016 campaign.

INSKEEP: And I guess we should clarify, we don't know what's in the indictment. We don't know the exact nature of the charges. But some things are in the court record - right? - things that he did in connection with this payoff to an adult film star who he didn't want to talk about, an affair.

BERNSTEIN: Right. We know that Michael Cohen made this hush money payment. And we know that Trump personally wrote checks, that there were 11 checks written altogether - some by Trump, some by executives of his company - over the course of the year, and that they were designated as legal retainers, which they were not. That's what the crux - is at the crux of this court appearance today is the criminality associated with that, the alleged criminality. We'll find out more when Donald Trump gets to court this afternoon.

INSKEEP: Yeah, I know we got some hours to go yet. So Andrea, I hope your coffee and snacks are holding out, that there's a deli open nearby or something for your comfort.

BERNSTEIN: Holding out so far. And some of the press people have brought us bagels. And so we have - we are well-fed.

INSKEEP: Reporter Andrea Bernstein in New York City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Andrea Bernstein