In Manhattan criminal court Tuesday afternoon, former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony criminal allegations of falsifying company documents.
Authorities claimed in court filings that the former president attempted to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election.
Prosecutors claimed that Trump was part of a criminal conspiracy to suppress unfavorable information, including an illegal payment of $130,000 ordered by the defendant to hide negative material that would harm his campaign.
According to prosecutors, Trump committed the crime of fabricating company records to “promote his campaign.”
The indictment produced by a grand jury against Trump last week was unsealed Tuesday, providing the public – and Trump’s legal team – with the first specifics about the exact allegations he will face. The probe originated from a hush payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The former president’s speech was measured in the courtroom. He strolled carefully into the courtroom, eyeing the media and looking at the judge as he spoke.
Trump had arrived at the Manhattan district attorney’s office earlier Tuesday afternoon, where he was arrested and taken into police custody before his arraignment.
The arraignment in Manhattan on Tuesday was strange and monumental in US history. The next in-person hearing for Trump’s lawsuit in New York is scheduled on December 4.
A judge ruled Monday night that news companies, including CNN, could not broadcast the proceedings. But, five still photographers were allowed to photograph Trump and the courtroom before the hearing began.
It’s unclear whether Trump will address in New York. One of Trump’s lawyers, Chris Kise, expected the former president to speak to the cameras outside the courtroom before and after his arraignment. Multiple sources familiar with Trump’s thinking tell CNN that he has considered saying something while still in Manhattan. But, advisers have warned him that any unplanned statements could jeopardize his case.
Trump is scheduled to fly back to Florida following his court hearing, where he will conduct an event at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday evening to respond to the charges.
While Trump’s words will indicate how he wants to combat the claims against him in the political arena, the former president is also preparing for the fight in court: On Monday, he appointed Todd Blanche as principal counsel to his defense team.
The indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is Trump’s first criminal charge. Still, it’s not the only legal trouble he could face: Special counsel Jack Smith is continuing his probe into Trump’s role on January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and the handling of confidential information at Mar-a-Lago.
A Fulton County special grand jury has also completed its investigation into efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election.
Trump landed in New York on Monday afternoon, flying in on his private plane from Palm Beach. On Tuesday afternoon, he spent the night in Trump Tower, 4 miles north of the courthouse in central Manhattan.
For weeks, New York law police and the US Secret Service have been preparing for Trump’s presence at the courthouse.