Miami federal courthouse exterior cleared ahead of Trump arraignment due to alleged bomb threat

June 14, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former President Donald Trump appeared in a federal courtroom in Miami, Florida on Tuesday for an arraignment following the unsealing last week of a federal criminal indictment related to his alleged mishandling of government documents after leaving the White House in 2021.

Prior to Trump's arrival, however, the area around the federal courthouse was cleared by police over an alleged bomb threat, the Conservative Brief reported.

As it turned out, though, there was no actual bomb, though law enforcement officials took possession of a "suspicious device" that appeared to be a flat-screen television.

Alleged bomb threat and "suspicious package" was TV with anti-media message

NewsNation reported Tuesday that its correspondent, Brooke Shafer, was on the scene outside the federal courthouse in Miami a few hours before the former President was scheduled to be arraigned on federal charges when the alleged bomb threat occurred.

Personnel from the Department of Homeland Security ordered everyone in the vicinity of the courthouse to clear the area while an investigation of "an item" commenced, which was later referred to as a "suspicious package" by the Miami-Dade Police.

The local bomb squad was deployed to the scene and officers with police dogs fanned out to search the area around the courthouse and nearby media tents for anything else that might be deemed to be a potential threat.

According to Shafer, who documented the incident with posts on Twitter, the "suspicious" "item" that had prompted the disruption was revealed to be a flat-screen TV with a profane anti-media message on it that the reporter had actually seen mounted on a utility pole earlier in the morning.

The TV, which may have sparked concern due to several yellow wires sticking out of the back, was taken down from the pole by DHS officers and then placed in a Miami-Dade police cruiser, after which an all-clear was given and the media -- along with pro-Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters -- were allowed to return to the tents and sidewalks outside the courthouse.

A "ring of steel" of security around courthouse

The Daily Mail reported that the alleged bomb threat incident that turned out to be a flat-screen TV occurred despite the fact that law enforcement had established a veritable "ring of steel" around the federal courthouse in Miami in advance of former President Trump's arraignment.

Those security measures included concrete and steel barriers, police tape, a rapid response force of officers in riot gear mounted in trucks, helicopters circling overhead, and a combination of personnel from an assortment of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

In addition to all of that, Trump himself was protected, as usual, by his Secret Service detail, and reportedly arrived in secret and unseen through an underground tunnel to begin the arraignment process -- which included fingerprinting but no handcuffs or mugshots -- in an office within the federal building's underground garage.

No recording devices allowed in courtroom

As for the arraignment hearing itself, the Daily Mail noted that the strict security measures also prohibited all electronic devices -- including cellphones, video cameras, and audio recorders -- from being brought inside the courtroom, allowing only a sketch artist to capture the scene for posterity.

Additionally, only 20 journalists were allowed to enter the actual courtroom where the hearing was held, though another 300 seats were made available in a nearby "overflow" room inside the courthouse.

The proceeding lasted for about 30 minutes, Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges, then jetted off afterward to his golf resort and summer residence in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he held a fundraiser event and railed against the latest "politically motivated" "witch hunt" against him by the federal government.

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