Trump appeared in court on Tuesday. Photo via Getty Images.
Former President Donald Trump has always styled himself as a flamboyant billionaire with the best of the best and the fairest — and his criminal indictment lived up to his hype.
Trump was slapped with 34 felonies in a Manhattan courtroom Tuesday afternoon, in an indictment accusing him of falsifying business records to hide damaging information by paying hush-money to a woman who claims that she slept with him.
Trump, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, is now the first former president to be charged with a crime. He has also been hit with a larger number of felony cases than any of his criminally convicted peers and confidantes.
The charges included falsifying business records in the first degree. Those records were allegedly falsified to cover up stealth money payments to undermine the 2016 election. The indictment accuses Trump of carrying out a “catch and kill” scheme that kept his affairs out of the news through a series of payments he made through months of false business entries from August 2015 to December 2017. hid from
In the following statement, Manhattan District Attorney Bragg said, “The people of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently attempted to conceal crimes that concealed harmful information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election. falsified the New York Business Record.” indictment. “We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct. As noted in the Statement of Facts, the trail of money and lies exposes a pattern that people allege violates one of New York’s basic and fundamental business laws.
Trump is always happy with small comparisons. On Tuesday, he had a new reason to rejoice: His 34 alleged felonies far exceeded the number of crimes allegedly committed by his aides and advisers.
Alan Weiselberg, Trump’s long-serving chief financial officer, pleaded guilty last year to 15 charges. Those crimes ranged from grand theft to tax fraud, and Weiselberg is currently serving a five-month sentence at the infamous Rikers Island prison complex.
Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts after he caught up with the affair, which involved tax evasion and illegal contributions to Trump’s presidential campaign. Cohen is now expected to be a key witness against Trump in the former president’s upcoming criminal trial.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was charged with 18 counts of financial crimes in a case brought in the Eastern District of Virginia. Manafort was convicted on eight counts during his trial, and eventually pleaded guilty to more in a plea deal with prosecutors and received a seven-year sentence. But he was eventually pardoned by Trump.
Trump’s company was found guilty on just 17 counts in a fraud trial that ended late last year.
Some prosecutors believe that adding too many counts to an indictment helps secure a conviction, as juries may have difficulty voting “not guilty” for a very long list of charges. .
Trump inside the courtroom. Photo by AP.
But in a criminal trial, when it comes to determining punishment and jail time, the seriousness of the charges is the primary determining factor, not the number of counts.
During Tuesday’s arraignment, prosecutors asked Trump to refrain from making further threats, specifically referring to Trump’s earlier social media posts saying the consequences if he was convicted would be “death and destruction” and World War III’ could happen.
“We have significant concern about the potential danger of these posts,” said DA Christopher Conway, a prosecutorial assistant with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Judge Juan Marchan said he was not close to issuing a gag order, but warned Trump to stop making threatening comments, saying he would if he saw more posts like those flagged by prosecutors. He will reconsider the issue. in the courtroom, saying that Trump has not made any threats nor has he made any threats and that they are pleading his case, and not addressing what he posts on social media.
Trump, looking weary in a blue suit and floppy red tie, walked into the courtroom. He spoke in monosyllabic responses to the judge, and leaned forward with his elbows on the table for much of the censure. At the end of the proceedings, he left the courtroom angrily and scowling at the assembled reporters.
On his way to court, Trump posted on Truth Social, “Feels so surreal – wow, they’re going to arrest me. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”
As Trump entered the courthouse, his campaign sent out a fundraising email with a new T-shirt for purchase. The shirt featured a fake mugshot of the former president with the slogan “Not Guilty”.
This is breaking news and will be updated.