New York (AP) – Ex-President Donald Trump entered a not guilty plea to 34 felony charges related to falsifying business records, as reported by various news outlets. On Tuesday, during a brief arraignment in a lower Manhattan courtroom, the grand jury indictment was unveiled.
BREAKING: Trump pleads not guilty. pic.twitter.com/9PunS7LWSK
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) April 4, 2023
On Tuesday, Trump surrendered to authorities at a Manhattan courthouse before his arraignment on criminal charges linked to a hush money payment made to an adult film actor during his 2016 campaign. The former president described the experience as “SURREAL” while traveling from Trump Tower to a lower Manhattan courtroom, where he would face a judge as the first former president in U.S. history to be criminally prosecuted.
Trump entered the courtroom, showing no emotion, just before 2:30 p.m. without making any remarks. Though anticipated to be brief and procedural, the arraignment signifies a significant turning point for Trump, following years of investigations into his personal, business, and political affairs. The case is unfolding not only during his third White House campaign but also amidst other investigations in Washington and Atlanta that may result in additional charges.
President Trump entering the court room moments ago #TrumpArraignment pic.twitter.com/YBno4fOXPq
— Adam Francisco (@adamfrancisco_) April 4, 2023
In a post on his Truth Social platform, the former president wrote, “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse. Seems so SURREAL – WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”
The booking and appearance before Judge Juan Merchan are expected to be relatively brief, but far from ordinary. Trump will be informed of the charges against him for the first time. His lawyers have stated that he will plead not guilty, and Trump is expected to enter the plea himself, as is customary in court. Judge Merchan has decided not to permit TV cameras in the courtroom.
Donald Trump pleaded NOT GUILTY to 34 felonies related to the hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Judge Merchan asked his lawyers to ask him to “refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence or civil unrest.” More TK.
— Molly Crane-Newman (@molcranenewman) April 4, 2023
At around 3:30PM the indictment was unsealed and made public.
Prosecutors claim that Trump participated in an illegal scheme to conceal damaging information, including an unauthorized payment of $130,000 that he directed to suppress information that could harm his campaign.
The indictment alleges that the crime of falsifying business records was committed, in part, to “promote his candidacy.”
Here’s a look at the first page of the unsealed indictment against former President Donald Trump—charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree pic.twitter.com/eCIjflcACN
— Aaron Parseghian WTSP (@AaronParseghian) April 4, 2023
This marks the first opportunity for Trump and his legal team to fully review the charges against him and understand what prosecutors must demonstrate during the trial.
Trump maintains his innocence and his attorneys have declared their intent to fight for the dismissal of the charges.
President Trump has just plead “Not Guilty.”
Because he is INNOCENT. pic.twitter.com/uBzaNzZddu
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) April 4, 2023
Trump is set to return to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday evening, where he will deliver a speech. At least 500 prominent supporters have been invited, with several staunchly pro-Trump congressional Republicans expected to be in attendance. It is important to note that a conviction would not preclude Trump from running for or winning the presidency in 2024.
President Trump is about to have the most historic speech of all time at Mar-a-Lago tonight.
Don’t miss it!
— shaneyyricch (@shaneyyricch) April 4, 2023
See you at MAL!
God bless President Trump! ???? pic.twitter.com/NL0EgLg0Uy
— Marjorie Taylor Greene ?? (@mtgreenee) April 4, 2023
Trump came in, pleaded not guilty, walked out, took no questions.
No handcuffs. No mugshot. No perp walk. All the optics from today’s event benefit Trump.
What do you think Libs? Did this satisfy your “get Trump” fetish?
I don’t think it did. All y’all did was poke the bear. pic.twitter.com/olAUzIFeSX
— Clandestine (@WarClandestine) April 4, 2023
One of a kind! ?????? pic.twitter.com/ildzGDpkAa
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) April 4, 2023
I stand with President Donald J. Trump pic.twitter.com/hC4O4dWmoC
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) April 4, 2023