A bomb threat in New York delayed a court hearing concerning Donald Trump as the country anticipates the first possible indictment and arrest of a US president.
The bomb threat was called into a court in lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning as a judge was prepared to hear a civil lawsuit against Trump, his real estate company and family.
It was an unfounded threat, police said. Regarding whether the bomb threat mentioned Trump, a state courts spokesman told the New York Post: ‘Not that I’m aware of.’
The hearing that was disrupted involved a lawsuit that New York Attorney General Letitia James filed against Trump, his family members and the Trump Organization accusing them of fraudulently inflating their net worth.
‘As if this case isn’t exciting enough on its own, there was a disturbance this morning but my best understanding is that everyone is here and ready to go,’ said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron when the hearing began, delayed by 20 minutes.
It occurred amid heightened security measures around the courthouse area as the US awaits a grand jury’s possible indictment of Trump for criminal charges. Jurors have heard weeks worth of evidence from prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office on Trump’s alleged role in a 2016 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Trump on Saturday claimed without evidence that he would be arrested on Tuesday and urged his followers to protest. Unnamed sources told Politico that he would be indicated late Monday, which did not occur, or Wednesday.
Police in New York and other major cities, and in Washington, DC, have been stepping up security measures and bracing for possible civil unrest if Trump is indicted.
Law enforcement leaders in New York reportedly met on Monday to coordinate and prepare security plans. Metal barricades have been unloaded outside the Manhattan Criminal Court and the district attorney’s offices.
New York authorities have been monitoring online channels with threats of varying levels. But they have not come across immediate signs that people are heeding Trump’s call for protests en masse, WABC reported. About 15 people stood outside the courthouse on Centre Street on Tuesday morning calling for an indictment. On Monday and Tuesday, Trump supporters gathered in Midtown Manhattan.
In an email to his staff on Saturday, Bragg assured that their safety was a top priority.
‘We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,’ wrote Bragg
‘Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.’
In DC, Capitol Police expected to have extra staff on hand on Tuesday and Wednesday, an unidentified source told CBS News. The Metropolitan Police Department said it was not aware of potential protests connected to Trump at the capital.
If Trump is arrested, it remains to be seen if his followers will protest and at what scale.