Over the weekend, Donald Trump set off an international maelstrom of media attention when he announced he would be arrested on Tuesday Like so many of Trump's proclamations, it proved to be throughly wrong, and the grand jury weighing whether to charge Trump over payments to an adult film star is unlikely to deliver its verdict until next week.
Trump's declaration, however, succeeded in creating a week-long spectacle outside Manhattan criminal court, which is now protected by metal barriers and police amid a tightening of security in New York.
On Monday a group of Trump supporters estimated the number at between five and 20 and much larger groups of reporters flooded the court, in the south of the island of Manhattan.
The smattering of pro-Trump signs was a show of support for the twice-impeached, legally besieged former US president, according to those on the right.
On Thursday, support had evaporated due to that measure. There was not a single Trump supporter or protester, a group of anti-Trumpers who had also been present outside the court earlier in the week. Only the journalists, from all the big TV stations and a lot of the smaller ones, remained, looking glum in the New York rain.
The court, which has been the subject of much global attention this week, loomed behind waist-high metal barricades.
The absence of Trump supporters was made to feel even more pronounced by the empty protest pen that police had set up on Monday. The small circular area, which brought to mind a kind of animal petting area common to county fairs, was forlorn and redundant under the gray sky, a real-life rebuttal to the adage if you build it, and spanning an entire city block looking like a nod to Soviet-era architecture. Hundreds of cameras were trained on Thursday, despite being outshone by the ornate New York county supreme court and the gold leaf-roofed Thurgood Marshall United States courthouse, planted next to each other a hundred yards south.
Trump said he d like to be handcuffed when he is arrested and arraigned at the court. The former television host who inherited his father's housing business is being investigated for his role in paying $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who says the couple had sex. The arraignment's determination to turn his arraignment into a spectacle is likely to be ruined by the scaffolding and green plywood that is in place across the entire span of the building, obscuring the main entrance. If he is ever indicted and taken to court, the camera crews outside there are at least two dozen lucky if they get an image of Trump at all.
There was a small assortment of NYPD equipment in front of the court, including a towable floodlight on each corner and two big vans on the street behind the building, but neither represented a striking visual.
There was not much worth filming with no interested parties present when the Guardian visited. Five police officers were standing around not doing much at a gap in the barricades, while two more officers were discussing whether to have pizza or a sandwich for lunch.
On Thursday, it emerged that the grand jury hearing the case would only return to Trump's case on Monday, pushing back any potential arrest. The barricades, the bored police officers, and the bored journalists will remain in place until then.
A week that began with a bang, and with some of Trump's supporters getting a day out in New York, appears to have fizzled out.