2 THINGS – Trump judge is HISPANIC – too funny and 2) he was released without BAIL – BAD because he is a flight risk and will try to flee. He shouldn’t be allowed to have an online platform – TRUTH SOCIAL should be shut down.
Marjorie Taylor Green was supposed to show up. I hope someone ran her down and threw her into the Hudson River which is already polluted.
Trump I pray to everything in the sky – is going to go to jail. He is the FIRST & ONLY PRESIDENT TO HAVE THESE 36 CHARGES LEVELED AT HIM. GOTTA HAND IT TO HIM – HE SURE SCREWED UP.
Trump charged with 34 felony counts in alleged hush money cover-up case
Sarah D. Wire
Tue, April 4, 2023 at 7:00 AM EDT
Former President Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday by a New York judge, charges stemming from the alleged cover-up of a hush money payment made in the days before the 2016 election.
Trump, who was arraigned Tuesday afternoon, became the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges when he was indicted last week by the Manhattan grand jury following an investigation into a $130,000 payment made by his former attorney, Michael D. Cohen, to adult film actor Stormy Daniels. The money was allegedly paid to prevent Daniels from publicly saying she had an affair with Trump during his campaign for president.
A somber-looking Trump ignored a handful of shouted questions as he walked past police before entering the courtroom for the arraignment. He sat with his hands folded on the defense table before him for most of the proceeding.
Falsification of business records is normally a misdemeanor under New York law, but the prosecutor elevated it to a felony on the grounds that the conduct was intended to conceal another underlying crime.
The former president has been accused of later hiding a reimbursement and further compensation to Cohen by funneling those payments through his business and recording them as legal services. Cohen did not perform legal work for Trump while he was in the White House.
Despite the heavy focus on Daniels, the charges could extend further into the Trump organization and possibly include a separate payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to felonies related to the alleged hush money payments to Daniels and spent three years in prison, is expected to be a key witness if the case goes to trial. His lawyer, Lanny Davis, told CNN on Sunday that Cohen provided Manhattan prosecutors with “substantial documentation” of the payments to Daniels and McDougal to support his testimony.
Trump was processed Tuesday — which included fingerprinting — directly before being arraigned around 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. No other judicial proceedings were allowed on the same floor where Trump appeared before Judge Juan Merchan. Trump is likely to be released without bail.
While he was being fingerprinted, Trump’s campaign sent an email advertising a “NOT GUILTY” T-shirt with a mocked-up mugshot of the president — he did not have one taken Tuesday — that is free with a $47 contribution.
Trump traveled from Florida to New York on Monday with his Secret Service detail and political and legal teams, including newly hired lead counsel Todd Blanche, a top white-collar criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor. Also with Trump at his Tuesday arraignment were attorneys Susan R. Necheles, Boris Epshteyn and Joseph Tacopina.
On Tuesday morning, a large crowd of journalists, Trump supporters and critics filled the park across the street from the courthouse to watch Trump arrive for processing.
“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!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform moments before he exited a black SUV and walked into the building accompanied by Secret Service. At 1:24 pm. Eastern he was formally under arrest.
Chants and celebrations, complete with drums and cowbells, from anti-Trump demonstrators erupted nearby following news of Trump’s surrender.
In the middle of the park, Trump critics laid out a banner with the words “Trump Lies All The Time,” in bold, capital letters. Nadine Seiler, 57, stood nearby wearing a “Trump indicted” T-shirt and holding a banner above her head that said, “Finally coming: Trump arrested.”
Seiler said she decided to travel from her home in Waldorf, Md., after hearing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) would be in New York. Seiler said she thinks Greene wants a “second insurrection” and was traveling to New York to incite Trump supporters into action.
“I had no plans to come here. But when she decided she was going to bring her thugs to NYC, I felt obligated to come,” Seiler said.
Dion Cini of Brooklyn held a red “Trump or Death Flag,” emblazoned with the years 1776 and 2024 and an image of Trump’s face. He said the Manhattan district attorney should have used resources to investigate “real crime” happening in his neighborhood. There may be a crime in this indictment, he said, but added there’s currently no line Trump could cross that would make him turn on the former president.
“Like [Trump] said, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and I don’t really care, because what he does for America outweighs, you know, a crime even like that,” Cini said. “He said it, I didn’t, but I support him because he’s the only American president who ever said, ever, since George Washington, America first. No president has ever said that.”
Police in New York City and across the country were concerned that planned protests could turn violent, but aside from minor altercations, demonstrations have so far remained calm.
The former president has said he plans to return to Florida following the arraignment and is expected to give a speech at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on Tuesday evening.
Trump has a history of leveling unfounded criticism of judges and district attorneys when he’s in legal trouble. On Truth Social, he has called Manhattan Dist. Atty. Alvin Bragg, who is Black, an “animal” and “racist,” and has also attacked Merchan, who oversaw a separate case involving the Trump Organization. Merchan cited the criticism of the prosecutor during the arraignment and warned Trump to refrain from social media posts that could cause unrest.
It’s unclear whether his legal team will be able to persuade Trump to avoid such rhetoric during his speech at Mar-a-Lago. On Monday evening, Trump unleashed another tirade against Bragg on Truth Social, accusing him of leaking information from the indictment, which has not been unsealed.
“This means that he MUST BE IMMEDIATELY INDICTED. Now, if he wants to really clean up his reputation, he will do the honorable thing and, as District Attorney, INDICT HIMSELF,” Trump wrote.
Last month, Trump warned of “potential death and destruction” if he was indicted, and law enforcement agencies are on high alert in New York and around the country. President Biden told reporters Monday that he is confident police can handle any unrest.
Trump has announced a campaign for president in 2024, and his Republican allies have sought to portray Bragg’s investigation as a politically motivated effort to interfere in the election. The probe was initiated in 2018, but was repeatedly placed on the back burner by other prosecutors.
The former president is also facing separate federal investigations into his alleged involvement in 2020 election interference by his supporters and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, along with his handling of classified documents after leaving office. Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed in November by U.S. Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland, has convened grand juries to hear from witnesses in both of the federal investigations, including most recently members of Trump’s Secret Service detail.
Trump also faces possible state-level election interference charges in Georgia. Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis is weighing potential indictments related to Trump’s attempts to change Georgia voting results after the 2020 election.
Times staff writer Alexandra E. Petri in New York contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.