Trump pleads not guilty to 34 criminal charges


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Former President Donald Trump was arraigned in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday afternoon, April 4, after being indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last week. The indictment — the first against a former U.S. president — was unsealed before presiding Judge Juan Merchan.

Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy in the first degree for his alleged role in hush money payments to two women during his 2016 presidential campaign. Falsifying business records is a felony in New York when there is an “intent to defraud” that includes an intent to “commit another crime or to aid or conceal” another crime, according to New York Penal Law § 175.05 and 175.10.

“Under New York state law, it is a felony to falsify business records with intent to defraud and intent to conceal another crime,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg at a press conference following Trump’s arraignment. “That is exactly what this case is about. 34 false statements made to cover up other crimes. These are felony crimes in New York, no matter who you are.”

After the former president surrendered to authorities at the courthouse, he was fingerprinted and processed inside the building. Cameras were not allowed at Tuesday’s court proceedings due to a judge’s order. However, photographers were still permitted inside. Trump left the courthouse under his own recognizance without speaking to reporters.

If the judge did not issue a gag order for this case, the former president has said he will give remarks to his supporters from his Florida residence later Tuesday night. The speech is slated for 8:15 p.m. ET at Mar-a-Lago.

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