Former President Donald Trump was just arraigned in a Manhattan court, and as expected, the scenes outside the courtroom were chaotic. But once inside, things went as planned with Trump looking glum and hardly saying anything.
The former president and the leading Republican presidential candidate for 2024 was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last Thursday after a years-long investigation. Arriving at the courthouse a little early, Trump appeared quiet but did wave to his supporters.
Once the president was fingerprinted, he was taken to Judge Juan Merchan’s courtroom without handcuffs. He was seated next to his lawyers when presented with the 34 felony criminal charges, including falsifying business records in the first degree. As per New York law, a charge of falsifying business records in the first degree means that the defendant committed a crime with the intent to defraud.
Law enforcement, including the NYPD, FBI, and Secret Service members, were in full force, and asides from a few push and shoves between pro and anti-trump supporters, most of the interactions were subdued.
After going over the arraignment, Trump pled not guilty to all 34 felony charges.
What are the Felony Charges against Trump
The unsealed 34-count indictment reveals that the majority of charges are related to the falsification of business records, and in New York State, that is punishable by incarceration.
DA Alvin Bragg stated that Trump fraudulently and repeatedly falsified his New York business records to hide criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voters during the 2016 presidential election. The DA added that the President and others went to great lengths to suppress all negative publicity or news about him. And what Trump may not know is that two parties to this agreement have already admitted to conducting such criminal activity.
While all 34 charges are felonies, they are the lowest category of a felony offense under New York Law but still carry a maximum prison sentence of 4 years for each count. But realistically speaking, at 76, Trump being a first-time offender, would most likely be given a shorter sentence after all his appeals are exhausted.
The DA went on to add that they have a collection of checks in the alleged ‘catch and kill’ payoff scheme to former playmate model Karen McDougal, Porn star Stormy Daniels and ex trump tower doorman Dino Sajudin to silence the stories about illegitimate children and illicit affairs.
The major criminal charge is one that includes a $130,000 payment to Daniels by then trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen in exchange for her silence just prior to the 2016 election. Finally, the DA listed every business transaction and violation of campaign rules, and that is how the 34 counts tallied up.
Even though there were no major surprises in the charges, these facts of Trump himself being involved in the coverup and payoffs may hurt his campaign for the next presidential election. While Trump has always denied the affair with Daniels, there is photographic evidence that he has met her.
For the DA, the case is simple- he has laid out the facts, and it is up to Trump to prove the facts wrong, which may not be easy as many checks were signed by Trump. And most of the facts which the DA has presented have been corroborated by other witnesses, including former National Inquirer publisher David Pecker.
Trump’s lawyers will, as expected, file motions to dismiss some or all the charges, but whether this strategy will work remains to be seen. The judge has set a next court date for sometime in December and a trial to follow in early 2024.
Trump left the courthouse through a side door because of security concerns right after pleading not guilty; he went straight to join his entourage waiting outside the courtroom. He ignored questions from reporters and looked subdued. He is expected to fly back to Florida on his private jet, and if there is no gag order, he will most definitely have a speech for his supporters later this evening.