An unfounded bomb threat in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning delayed a court hearing involving former President Trump as the city and much of the nation remained on edge over the prospect of protests or unrest in response to his possible indictment.
It was unclear whether the threat mentioned Trump or his legal troubles, but the delay affected a hearing Tuesday morning involving a lawsuit filed by New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James against Trump and several of his family members, accusing them of fraudulently inflating Trump’s net worth.
The threat was made in a 911 call that mentioned several locations in Lower Manhattan, a spokesperson for the court told the Los Angeles Times. Several buildings, including the New York County Courthouse and district attorney’s office, were searched by the New York Police Department.
“Operations were minimally affected for less than 30 minutes,” said Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the courthouse.
An NYPD spokesperson said the department had no information immediately available about the threat.
The unfounded threat comes as police in major cities across the country, including New York and Los Angeles, have begun to take steps in response to the possibility of protests should the former president be indicted this week. A crowd control fence was erected outside the Manhattan courthouse where a grand jury has been convened over allegations that porn star Stormy Daniels was paid money to stay quiet about an affair with Trump.
The prospect of protests and unrest rose when Trump, citing no evidence, announced on social media last week that he would be arrested Tuesday by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office over the Daniels payout scandal. In an all-uppercase message to supporters through his social media site, Truth Social, the former president urged supporters: “PROTEST TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
The message echoed his calls for his backers to march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when he continued his false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to current President Joe Biden.
More than 1,000 people were arrested in the Jan. 6 unrest, including 326 who were charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, according to the Department of Justice. More than 100 have pleaded guilty to felony charges, and 385 have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.
But that kind of crowd has yet to be seen in response to Trump’s latest call to supporters.
At one protest on Monday, news reporters easily outnumbered Trump’s supporters.
On Tuesday, reporters noted only a handful of protesters and supporters of the former president stood outside Trump Tower in New York. Metal barriers erected outside the building to help control crowds were instead used by supporters to hang some of their banners.
The crowds were also sparse in West Los Angeles. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, outside the federal building near Wilshire Boulevard, passing drivers may have missed the protest taking place there.
Unfazed by the sideways raindrops and people racing past to catch the bus nearby, two Trump supporters with megaphones screamed at passing cars about the Biden family’s purported criminal ties, and said prosecutors should “leave our president alone” — referring to Trump.
“The mainstream media is just a part of your government,” one protester yelled over a megaphone.
Still, supporters like former Trump advisor Roger Stone called for “peaceful” and “legal” protests across the country.
Other Republican leaders urged supporters not to protest, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who on Sunday criticized the criminal investigation against Trump as politically motivated but said his supporters shouldn’t demonstrate over it.
Bomb threat delays New York court hearing as U.S. awaits possible charges against Trump