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Tags: indictment | arraignment | donald trump | manhattan

Trump Pleads Not Guilty on 34 Counts of Falsifying Business Records

By    |   Tuesday, 04 April 2023 04:04 PM EDT

Donald Trump, the former president and front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records after an investigation into hush money paid to a porn star.

"The people of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election," Manhattan District Attorney Bragg wrote in the indictment. "Manhattan is home to the country's most significant business market.

"We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct. As the Statement of Facts describes, the trail of money and lies exposes a pattern that, the people allege, violates one of New York's basic and fundamental business laws. As this office has done time and time again, we today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law."

The prosecution reportedly wants this to go to trial in January 2024. The defense apparently moved to put this off, but the judge said he wants to move expeditiously.

The next in-person court meeting was set for Dec. 4 by Justice Juan Merchan, who Trump has said in social media posts "hates" him.

After an hour in the courtroom, Trump left, still showing little emotion and not responding to a question from a reporter outside. He quickly headed for the safety of his Secret Service motorcade, en route back to Florida. He was expected to have comments about 8:15 p.m. ET from Mar-a-Lago, which will air live on Newsmax.

The Trip to Court

Wearing a dark blue suit and red tie, Trump, 76, appeared stone-faced when he waved to a crowd assembled outside the courthouse after he was driven in a motorcade from his New York residence at Trump Tower. He was to surrender to the DA's office before the arraignment proceeding before Juan Merchan.

Trump, who has called the charges politically motivated, held his fist in the air in a gesture to reporters as he departed Trump Tower.

"Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse," Trump posted on Truth Social while he was in the car. "Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can't believe this is happening in America. MAGA!"

Trump, looking stern, said nothing as he walked past police and through a hallway in the courthouse before entering the courtroom for the arraignment proceeding.

No Gag Order, but a Caution

During the proceedings, the judge declined to give a gag order. This, after the DA showed a photo of Trump seeming to aim a baseball bat at an image of Bragg, saying such material could be harmful or inciting.

The judge did, however, turn to Trump and say, according to reports, "I don't want to see this sort of thing anymore."

History

The first sitting or former U.S. president to face criminal charges, Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last week in a case stemming from a 2016 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, though the specific charges had yet to be disclosed.

He reportedly was fingerprinted in the booking process, but did not take a mug shot.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a briefing held simultaneously said President Joe Biden is not "focused" on Trump's arraignment.

Jean-Pierre said Biden would "catch part of the news when he has a moment," but insisted: "This is not something that's a focus for him."

Trump has been expected to return around 5:15 p.m at Palm Beach International, to head to Mar-a-Lago.

The Scene

Hundreds of onlookers, protesters, journalists and a few politicians swarmed into the confines of Collect Pond Park, which sits across the street from the criminal courthouse where Trump was to be arraigned.

Metal barricades separated Trump supporters from anti-Trump protesters, and police stepped in to break up small skirmishes. Journalists, some of whom had taken turns waiting in line all night to reserve a coveted seat in the courtroom, pressed in on notable figures who appeared.

New York police had said they were ready for large protests.

A different sort of tension ran high around the courthouse and park Tuesday as news media jostled for position. Television networks hired security personnel who pushed people away. Some reporters had begun lining up for a seat in the courtroom Monday afternoon, and stayed there all night or paid others to hold their place.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


US
Donald Trump, the former president and front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records after an investigation into hush money paid to a porn star.
indictment, arraignment, donald trump, manhattan
752
2023-04-04
Tuesday, 04 April 2023 04:04 PM
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