Live from the Trump trial

(A slightly edited excerpt from the most recent newsletter, a thing you can subscribe to!)

I recently managed to qualify for official NYC press credentials, and on Monday, I got up at five a.m. and made my way downtown to wait in line for more than two hours in Collect Pond Park, across from the Manhattan criminal courthouse where the trial is being held. There were two lines, one for media and one for members of the public, and places toward the front of the media line were held by people with signs indicating that they were professional line sitters (yes, this is a thing), being paid hundreds of dollars to get there in the middle of the night and reserve a spot for presumably well-heeled media outlets (including the New York Times).  I wasn’t quite so committed to this excursion that I was going to literally spend the night standing in line, so by the time I got there at around six a.m. — still an ungodly hour, by my standards! — I was toward the end of a queue of maybe 75-100 people. Which meant that I wasn’t going to get into the main courtroom, but had a decent shot of getting into the overflow room where monitors show video of the trial, and since it’s not being broadcast, that was as close as I was going to get to seeing it unfold live.

As we got closer to 8 a.m., a police officer began walking down the media line, handing out white cardstock “hall passes” which would allow entrance to the courthouse. He ran out right before he got to me, but fortunately once they counted spaces in the courtroom there was still a little room to spare, and he came back around with a few more, and I was soon going through the metal detector and sending my bag through the x-ray machine on the ground floor of the courthouse. My hall pass got me through to the elevator bank and up to the shabby, dimly-lit fifteenth floor hallway, where there was a second metal detector, as well as a visual bag inspection. And then I was allowed into the overflow room, along with about a hundred other people (mostly media, with a reported two dozen reserved for members of the public), where I was directed to a bench at the very back of the room.

Continue reading “Live from the Trump trial”