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Miami equipped to handle up to 50K protesters as Trump heads to court

Police are calling on protesters to remain peaceful and not storm the courthouse where former Pres. Trump will face a 37-count indictment Tuesday.
Posted at 8:56 AM, Jun 13, 2023

Authorities in Miami are preparing for potential protests ahead of the arraignment of former President Donald Trump in connection with the Justice Department investigation into his alleged mishandling of classified documents. Thousands of Trump supporters are expected to descend upon the city as he prepares to face a 37-count indictment.

The big question — are there sufficient security measures in place?

Trump has called upon his supports to peacefully protest outside the Miami courthouse and the city's police chief said they have resources available to handle anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 demonstrators. 

"I want to show the city we are ready," said Chief Manuel A. Morales. "We're ready for it to be over and gone."

But with police tape around the courthouse instead of barriers, Chief Morales is calling on protesters to remain peaceful and not storm the building.

"Make no mistake about it, we're taking this event extremely serious," he said. "We know that there is a potential of things taking a turn for the worst, but that's not the Miami way."

Donald Trump

What Republicans think of Donald Trump's federal indictment

Many voters and Congressional Republicans still support Donald Trump, but former Trump officials say the new indictment is damning.


Prosecutors with the Department of Justice say Trump has jeopardized national security by hoarding top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Charges involve the Espionage Act, which carries a lengthy prison sentence if he is convicted.

Speaking to Scripps New Monday, former Trump national security adviser John Bolton said the indictment is "very dangerous" for the former president.

"Of the tens of thousands of people in the federal government, if they did a small fraction of what Trump is accused of, they'd be fired from their job," he said.

Once he arrives in court Tuesday, Trump is expected to be finger printed, potentially have his photo taken, and also receive a unique identification number in the prison system. But Miami officials say Trump's status as a former president changes the circumstances of the situation.

"We're taking this very seriously," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said at a news conference Tuesday. "We are prepared for what will happen tomorrow... we have a lot of experience in protests of this magnitude."

A Federal Protective Service Police officer cordons off an area outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse.

Officials optimistic Trump arraignment protests won't get out of hand

Officials offered few details on how they will ensure the safety and security of those in and around the courthouse on Tuesday.


Secret Service has said it is not looking for any special security accommodations, but former federal prosecutor David Weinstein told Scripps News there should be concerns.

"We saw what happened in Washington on Jan. 6," he said. "The intent of that large crowd [in Miami] is unknown. If it's one that veers toward violence, there's going to be a very ugly situation that's going to take place in downtown Miami."

After Tuesday's court appearance, the judge on the case is expected to set a trial date within the next 75 days. Then former Pres. Trump is reportedly planning to depart for New Jersey where he is expected to hold a press conference to address the charges.