Trump attorney Alina Habba reveals why his mugshot shouldn’t be released

The indicted ex-president will be photographed when he surrenders to New York authorities tomorrow

Andrew Feinberg
Tuesday 04 April 2023 15:25 BST
Trump Indictment
Trump Indictment (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

One of former president Donald Trump’s lawyers says releasing the mugshot that will be taken by New York authorities at his arraignment in Manhattan on Tuesday is “not going to help anything” and should not be permitted.

Attorney Alina Habba told CNN on Monday that she’s not opposed the presence of television cameras in the courtroom during proceedings against Mr Trump, who became the first ex-US president to face criminal charges after a New York grand jury indicted him for allegedly falsifying business records last week.

But Ms Habba said the ex-president’s mugshot should not be made public due to his status as a presidential candidate.

“I like transparency. I think that in certain situations, it’s a good thing. I do have a problem with leaking of pictures,” Ms Habba said. “I think that because we’re in a campaign, because he’s the leading GOP candidate, it’s not going to help anything”.

She added that releasing the mugshot shouldn’t be necessary because Mr Trump is an identifiable public figure whose face is recognised by people around the world.

“Mugshots are for people so that you recognise who they are. He is the most recognised face in the world, let alone the country right now, so there’s no need for that. There’s no need for the theatrics,” she said.

In many states, mugshots taken at arrest are public records, which means they are accessible to anyone who requests them. In some jurisdictions, they are released on a regular basis by law enforcement authorities and are even published in tabloid-style publications.

But New York law does not recognise mugshots as public records, which means the release of Mr Trump’s photograph would need to be specifically authorised.

A source close to Mr Trump told The Independent that the ex-president has in recent weeks discussed whether his booking photograph should be made available so his campaign can use it in fundraising and emblazon it on campaign merchandise.

One of his occasional legal advisers, retired Havard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, has said he has told the ex-president to sell such merchandise to boost his campaign coffers.

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