A group of news organisations has launched a bid to allow cameras into court when Donald Trump makes an unprecedented appearance on Tuesday.

The group, which includes NBC News, The Associated Press and The New York Times, have also asked judge Juan Merchan to immediately unseal the indictment against the former US president.

On Friday, a grand jury in New York voted to indict Trump over possible offences related to a $130,000 (£105,000) payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

It was allegedly made in exchange for Ms Daniels’ silence about a sexual encounter she claims she had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump’s legal team have indicated that he will plead not guilty to the indictment, the full details of which are under seal from the press and public.

It is understood Trump faces around 30 charges of document-related fraud, including at least one felony – the most serious type of offence in the US.

The group of media organisations requesting the indictment be unsealed argue that there is an “overwhelming public interest” in making the details available.

A law firm representing the group said: “Because of the overwhelming public interest in the contents of the indictment, and because no valid purpose is served by keeping the indictment under seal pending arraignment, we respectfully request that it be unsealed without delay.

“Indeed, any delay only allows speculation about the content of the indictment to proliferate.”

In a separate petition, the group urged Judge Merchan to allow audio and visual access to the arraignment hearing, which is expected to take place on Tuesday on the 15th floor of the courthouse in Manhattan.

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“The gravity of this proceeding – unprecedented and historic arraignment of a former US president – and, consequently the need for the broadest possible public access, cannot be overstated,” the group have argued.

It has been agreed that the former president will not be in handcuffs following negotiations between his lawyers and the district attorney’s office.

Read more:
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The key figures in the hush money case – including ex-Playboy model

The decision on the two petitions rests with Judge Merchan – a veteran judge who serves on Manhattan’s
criminal court – and someone who has in the past faced criticism from Trump.

Judge Merchan last year oversaw a criminal trial of the Trump Organization that ended with the real estate company convicted by a jury of tax fraud and hit with fines.

One of its longtime executives, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty and was jailed for five months.

Trump, who was not charged in his company’s case, lashed out at Judge Merchan on his Truth Social platform on Friday.

In a post, he wrote: “The Judge ‘assigned’ to my Witch Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME.”

“He strong-armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, and treated my companies, which didn’t ‘plead,’ VICIOUSLY.”

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Judge Merchan is also presiding over a criminal case involving former Trump campaign and White House adviser Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud related to a non-profit that raised funds for building a wall on the US border with Mexico.

Judge Merchan did not reply to a request from the news agency Reuters when asked about Trump’s comments.

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