In his New York arraignment session, Trump, the first former US president to face criminal charges, enters a not guilty plea.
Donald Trump, a former president of the United States, has entered a not guilty plea in New York City to a number of allegations relating to hush-money payments made before the 2016 presidential election, including one to an adult film actor.
Just before 2:30pm (18:30 GMT) on Tuesday, Trump—the first former US president ever to face criminal charges—entered a Manhattan courtroom to formally hear the charges against him. According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the GOP leader is accused with 34 felonies for allegedly fabricating New York company documents “to hide embarrassing facts and illegal activities from American voters before and after the 2016 election.”
The case’s prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, claimed that the alleged “capture and kill scheme” involved three payoffs, including the $130,000 given to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Tuesday afternoon, during a press conference, Bragg assured reporters that “we today uphold our sacred commitment to guarantee that everyone stands equal before the law, as this office has done time and time again.”
“That eternal American principle cannot be altered by money or force,” Trump, who is running for re-election in 2024, has refuted accusations of misconduct and referred to the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
The Courthouse is in Lower Manhattan. They are going to ARREST ME, it seems VERY SURPRISING. Can’t believe this is happening in America, he wrote on social media before showing up in court in Manhattan. The former president was arraigned less than a week after a New York grand jury decided to indict him, a decision that was applauded by Trump’s detractors but drew harsh criticism from prominent Republicans.
A sizable police presence was set up in advance of Tuesday’s hearing out of worry that there would be violence because the case has brought to light the country’s deep political rifts.
Huge crowds of Trump supporters and opponents joined opposing demonstrations close to the court throughout the day. Trump’s assertion that the lawsuit is politically motivated is one that “his fans tend to actually believe wholeheartedly,” said to Jennifer Victor, an associate professor of political science at George Mason University.
As this lawsuit continues, Victor predicted that it will become increasingly divisive. The focus of the New York inquiry was the $130,000 payment to Daniels that Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney and fixer for Donald Trump, made in the last weeks of the former president’s 2016 campaign.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said that she started dating Trump in 2006. Cohen said that he paid her at Trump’s request.
The former president, who maintains that he did nothing illegal, has denied having an affair and stated that the money was made to save his name from unfounded accusations.
In the meantime, Bragg, the New York prosecutor, claimed on Tuesday that a payment of $30,000 was made via an intermediary to a former doorman for Trump Tower who was alleging that Trump had fathered an unmarried kid.
In a related case, a lady was paid $150,000 by a US newspaper to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump. Under New York law, the charges together carry a maximum punishment of more than 100 years in jail, although the actual prison term if he is found guilty at trial would almost definitely be much less than that.
In New York, fabricating company documents is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail on its own, but when it is done to further or hide another crime, it is escalated to a felony punishable by up to four years in jail. Senator Ted Cruz stated that the situation “makes a mockery of the rule of law” as Republican senators reaffirmed their public support for Trump on Tuesday. Cruz said on Twitter that the political persecution “marks a horrible day for our country” and that the indictment was “frivolous.”
Democrats have claimed that it shows that “nobody is above the law.”
It is “a melancholy time in the life of our democracy,” tweeted Congressman Adam Schiff, “when it becomes necessary to arraign a former president on criminal charges.”
According to Bragg, recent Republican assertions that the investigation is politically motivated are “baseless and provocative.”
During the news conference on Tuesday, he declared, “These are felonies in New York State, regardless of who you are.” “Serious criminal behavior cannot and will not be normalized,”