Donald Trump pleads not guilty in unprecedented arraignment of the former president
Trump, who surrendered to NYC authorities on Tuesday, April 4, faces 34 charges for his payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
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It was a media frenzy all of Tuesday, April 4, in Manhattan, as former President Donald Trump surrendered to authorities and entered the courtroom for his arraignment at 2:30 p.m. at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, where he pleaded not guilty to 34 charges regarding a hush payment made to porn star Stormy Daniel in the final days of his successful 2016 Presidential campaign.
He is the first U.S. president to face criminal charges. Trump, 76, is also a criminal defendant for the first time in his life.
Trump’s 11-vehicle motorcade had arrived at the courthouse shortly before 1:30 p.m. at the district attorney’s office, which is conjoined with the towering Manhattan Criminal Courts Building.
The former President was fingerprinted, but only spent a short amount of time in the office before it was time to enter the courtroom for his arraignment. He was also most likely not handcuffed nor was a mugshot taken. As of publication, nothing has been confirmed or denied.
Today’s unprecedented event brought supporters and opposition down to Manhattan where protests and rallies took place as early as this morning. These included Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Photos circulating online also show some Trump supporters camping out the night prior.
Trump’s Secret Service, the New York City Police Department, court security and the district attorney’s office, which has been investigating Mr. Trump for nearly five years, was heavily involved with coordinating his movements in and out of the courthouse to ensure safety and order.
Trump, who’s currently running for his third Presidential term, pleaded not guilty to the 34 felonies brought by the District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, before the State Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan. Manhattan prosecutors accused Trump of attempting to erase a potential sex scandal during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Once a billionaire businessman who became the nation’s Commander-in-Chief, Trump now faces a potentially embarrassing criminal trial.
Some of the felonies against the former president include filing false business records in the first degree, a low-level felony that holds a maximum of four years in prison for each count with a likely chance of probation for someone like Trump.
Trump allegedly had a $130,000 hush-money payment made by his former lawyer and “fixer” — Michael D. Cohen — who served three years in prison for tax evasion campaign-finance violations — to Stormy Daniels, a porn star, in the final days of the 2016 campaign.
Cohen said he went through with the transaction at Trump’s order with Daniels ensuring she would not go public with her private sex night with the former Apprentice host. According to prosecutors, Trump then reimbursed Cohen, with his company’s internal records displaying the repayment to Cohen as owed legal expenses.
Cohen, who ended his relationship with Trump in 2018 after the hush-money deal became public, will be a key witness in the case.
For the president, this is only one of several other legal battles still to handle. He is involved with three other criminal investigations and has been accused of misconduct in a number of civil actions.
Tuesday’s arraignment is the product of a nearly five-year investigation, and as Trump continues on his campaign run for President in 2024, how it will affect the race for the Republican nomination — which he leads — is still uncertain.
But what is certain is that Trump is expected back in Florida tonight for a speech at his Mar-a-Lago home.
Trump left the courthouse around 3:30 p.m. where the case was adjourned until a much later specified date and in all probability, headed straight to LaGuardia Airport to fly back home.
He’s expected to make comments to the press at Mar-a-Lago later tonight.
No matter the situation, the Trump campaign is seemingly feeling positive about the arraignment, already capitalizing, fiscally, on the idea of a Trump mugshot.
An email from Trump’s 2024 campaign was sent just minutes after the arraignment, advertising a t-shirt with a fake mug shot of Trump, that reads "NOT GUILTY.” The $47 shirt will be given for free to those who contribute to the campaign. It is also available for $36 from his campaign merchandise store.