“Line Dudes” patiently await outside Donald Trump’s New York trial overnight

The sun had not yet risen on the day of the trial, as Robert Samuel patiently waited in line outside 100 Centre Street, the county criminal courts building in Lower Manhattan.

Samuel held a place in line, representing one of the credentialed journalists eager to gain access to the courtroom and overflow room. He was part of a team of 22 men working on Trump’s hush-money trial that day. Samuel was affiliated with Same Ole Line Dudes, a niche company he established 12 years ago.

As the historic Trump trial reaches its third week, Samuel is now taking orders for seats reserved for the general public. Those attending the trial will need to form a separate line outside the courthouse.

Samuel came up with this business model after he got fired from AT&T for constantly being late, he mentioned. With his experience in selling iPhones, he knew that Apple enthusiasts would eagerly wait outside the Apple Store overnight to get their hands on the latest models on release day. In September 2012, someone paid him $100 to stand in line for the iPhone 5. That night, he also sold two more spots in line and ended up making enough money to buy a new smartphone for himself.

He mentioned that he still has the box as a memento.

Samuel, a towering figure at 6-foot-5 and 48 years old, commands attention as he stands in line. On a chilly Monday morning, with the temperature hovering in the low 40s, he and his fellow Line Dudes sported black wool hats adorned with the company’s vibrant yellow logo.

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Samuel explained that his venture started with him working alone. However, as he recognized the increasing demand, he decided to involve his loved ones, including his friends and family. He emphasized that New York City provided the perfect environment for his business to thrive, with its abundance of opportunities to explore, enjoy, purchase, and indulge in various experiences and flavors.

Line Dudes has become a hub for various attractions in Brooklyn, ranging from the famous pizzas to ramen burgers, rainbow bagels, and cronut pastries. Additionally, it has also hosted PlayStation games and sample sales at fashion houses.

Samuel admits that occasionally he gives in to the temptation of making impulsive purchases, which he recognizes as a detrimental habit.

He has experienced the excitement of waiting in line alongside other ticket-holding fans at Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Harry Styles concerts, all in the hopes of securing general admission spots closest to the stage.

He expressed, “The K-pop fans have immense love for us.”

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Samuel has also been hired to secure Broadway show seats at the TKTS booth in Times Square or at theater box offices. He waits in line for rush tickets or last-minute cancellations, which has occasionally resulted in the bonus of an extra ticket.

Samuel proudly shared that he had the privilege of watching ‘Hamilton’ a remarkable 11 times. Among those, he had the extraordinary opportunity to witness the original cast in action for an astounding six performances.

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Samuel also had the opportunity to watch the 2019 Shakespeare in the Park production of “Much Ado About Nothing.” While these tickets are free, they are distributed either through a lottery system or to individuals who wait in line. Samuel acknowledged that one of the advantages of his job is being exposed to events that may not have been on his radar otherwise. He expressed amazement at the fact that people would hire his services to wait for free things.

Line Dudes has a strong track record when it comes to handling high-profile trials in Manhattan. They have successfully represented clients in notable cases such as Ghislaine Maxwell’s 2021 trial for her involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring, the trial of cryptocurrency fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried last fall, and E. Jean Carroll’s two civil suits against Trump for sexual assault and defamation.

According to Samuel, his company has established a strong relationship with media agencies. They are the preferred choice when agencies want to avoid their reporters waiting in line.

The Trump trials have undeniably had a positive impact on business. Due to the limited courtroom and overflow room space, Samuel charges media organizations $50 an hour, which is twice his regular rate, to reserve a spot in the line for the ongoing hush-money trial. People start queuing up for this line shortly after midnight on the days when the court is in session.

Samuel explained that this particular assignment is of great importance and attracts a lot of attention. He emphasized the potential risks involved, such as encountering protesters and supporters. As a result, they charge a premium for such assignments.

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In the pre-dawn hours, Samuel’s employees strive to find some respite, settling into folding chairs to catch a few moments of rest. Samuel noted, “They actually get paid for sleeping. It’s mostly men on my team, but that’s not to say we’re being sexist. It wasn’t a conscious decision. We do have women who also work in this role.”

Spending a night on the streets of New York comes with its fair share of risks. Samuel shared an incident where they were exposed to a gun while waiting in line for a Justin Timberlake release. However, they have a policy of avoiding confrontations. When people try to skip the line, they strive to maintain their position without letting the situation escalate.

According to Samuel, line-holding calls are not in high demand anymore when new iPhone models are launched. He mentioned, “Everything is mostly online and pre-order. So we lost. That was our Christmas.”

However, despite the challenges, Line Dudes has managed to grow their business. In addition to New York City, they have also started taking bookings in Washington, D.C. Samuel humorously mentions that they only go to Washington, D.C. for Trump, indicating that their expansion was influenced by the former president’s legal troubles. Samuel cheekily concludes by saying, “So I guess I can say thank you for that.”

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