Celebrity News April 04, 2023
Former President Donald Trump Pleads Not Guilty to 34 Felonies
Donald Trump pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in NYC today.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office charged Trump with 34 felony counts of falsification of business records. See the indictment here.
A press release from the D.A.'s office alleges that during the run-up to the 2016 election, "Trump and others employed a 'catch and kill' scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects. Trump then went to great lengths to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws."
District Attorney Bragg also released a statement, saying, "The People of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election."
He continued, "Manhattan is home to the country’s most significant business market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct. As the Statement of Facts describes, the trail of money and lies exposes a pattern that, the People allege, violates one of New York’s basic and fundamental business laws. As this office has done time and time again, we today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”
Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing, sent an email blast to his supporters, saying, “I’m writing you this email as I fly back home to Mar-a-Lago. While we are living through the darkest hours of American history, I can say that at least for this moment right now, I am in great spirits… Because my team showed me all of the support, the love, the prayers, and the donations YOU gave our movement while I was getting arrested and arraigned. You are why I could NEVER give up our mission to save America – no matter how nasty and vicious the attacks ever got.”
This is the first criminal arraignment of a former or current U.S. president.
Earlier in the day, Trump was arrested after surrendering himself at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse.
According to Yahoo News, there were no plans to handcuff the former president, hold him in a jail cell, or take his mug shot.
The charges are Class E, the lowest level of felonies, and can carry up to four years in prison. Trump, however, is not likely to spend time behind bars. A New York law enforcement official told Yahoo News, “No one gets jail time for that as a first offender.”
Trump flew from Florida to NYC on Monday and stayed at Trump Tower in NYC.
While his wife Melania Trump did not arrive in New York with the former president, a source tells People that she will “support” him.
“That's what she does. They are a family,” the insider said, adding, "Like usual, drama swirls around them and they wade through it. It's part of their lives."
After the arraignment, Trump was expected to head back to Mar-a-Lago, where he was set to give a speech Tuesday evening.
Last week, Trump’s lawyer told NBC News that a grand jury had voted to indict him over alleged acts connected to a $130,000 hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.