Mar-a-Lago events suspended as Trump huddles with advisers | Donald Trump

Weekend events at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, were suspended on Friday as the former president was “huddling” with his attorneys after being blindsided by the grand jury indictment handed up against him after payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump was initially caught off guard by the news of dozens of criminal charges related to a $130,000 payment given to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Gregory Clifford.

“It won’t be business as usual,” a source told the Post. “They expected this but there is shock now that it’s happened.

“It’s real now. And they are worried about a surprise.”

Donald Trump ‘shocked’ at hearing of indictment, says attorney – video

Separately, Trump was more subdued as he took in the significance of the coming legal battle, but on Saturday he had indicated it could boost his 2024 presidential campaign, a source familiar with the matter said.

Trump received formal notification of the charges, which have yet to be unsealed, stemming from a grand jury empaneled by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg. Confirmation of the indictment came on Thursday after reports suggested that the grand jury would not sit again until May.

On 23 March, Trump indicated that he believed he had beaten the rap when he shared a now-deleted post on his Truth Social network of himself holding a baseball bat next to a photo of Bragg and later warned of the potential for “death and destruction” if he was charged.

Days later the charges were filed, and now Trump is due to enter a plea in the case at a hearing in New York on Tuesday afternoon. Trump is expected to plead not guilty.

An attorney for Trump, Joe Tacopina, told NBC’s Today show that his client would not consider taking a plea deal after becoming the first former president to be criminally charged.

“There’s no crime,” Tacopina argued.

Preparations for the ex-president’s arraignment at Manhattan’s criminal courthouse at 100 Centre St have been under way for 10 days, with barriers being erected for crowd control.

Donald Trump supporters surround Mar-a-Lago home after indictment – video

The Washington Post reported on Friday that the Secret Service director, Kimberly Cheatle, told agents that the agency will take “the necessary steps” to protect Trump from harm, including placing agents in a “bubble formation” to separate him from the public.

But Cheatle also said the service had not sought any special accommodations in the court’s standard procedures for processing and arraignment. The former president will nonetheless find himself in company he probably did not anticipate.

Indictments and criminal trials scheduled for Tuesday at the same courthouse include: burglary for taking paintings from a West Village townhouse; a thwarted terrorist attack on a Jewish community; the illegal selling of firearms; murder for a deadly East Harlem hammer attack; murder and attempted murder for attacking multiple homeless men; murder and criminal possession of a weapon for shooting into a car in East Harlem; and a grand larceny case involving sim-card swapping.

New York police have issued a memo instructing all officers to wear their uniforms and prepare for mobilization, according to local news reports. That came after Bragg acknowledged in a memo to the DA’s 1,600 staff members that the office had been receiving offensive and threatening phone calls and emails.

Trump in a red make America great again hat giving two thumbs up from inside his limousinePin
Trump was seen departing Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach on Saturday. Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Bragg said the safety of his staff remained a top priority, and he thanked them for persevering in the face of “additional press attention and security around our office”.

Trump will not be handcuffed at his arraignment or subjected to a “perp walk”, and discussions are still being held about whether his booking photo will be publicly circulated. Trump reportedly “wants the mugshot out” because it could harness donations to his presidential campaign.

“The funds will start flying in,” a source told the Post.

Melania Trump is not expected to join her husband on his trip to New York, where he will reportedly stay at his triplex in Trump Tower. She plans to “lay low”, according to reports.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka issued a statement on her Instagram page on Friday saying “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both.”

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