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Donald Trump Arrested in New York, Pleads Not Guilty to 34 Charges

former US President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump Credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Former President Donald Trump arrived at a court in Lower Manhattan in New York where he was arrested and charged with 34 criminal felonies. Over the course of an almost hour long hearing, he was accused of falsifying business records to conceal crimes. He has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

The court filing says that Trump is accused of “intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof, made and caused a false entry in the business records of an enterprise”.

Outside the court, a mass of journalists gathered to catch a glimpse of Trump as he entered and exited the building. Groups of the former president’s supporters and detractors also gathered to witness a moment which has thoroughly divided public opinion.

Donald Trump’s arrest in New York

The frenzy of press members and journalists gathered around the court in anticipation of Trump’s arrival may already have been disappointed. He was driven by a Secret Service motorcade to the building and whisked quietly inside via a discreet entrance.

During his journey to the court building, Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social, “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!”

The arrest of Donald Trump is a historic moment. He has become the first serving or former president in American history to face criminal charges. All the charges against the former president are Class E felonies, the lowest category of felony offence in New York. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of four years.

The typical charge for falsifying business records is a misdemeanour, but the Manhattan district attorney’s office is taking things up a notch by asserting that the offence was carried out with the intention of hiding or committing a separate crime.

The former president has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Prosecutor’s comments

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting Trump, accused the former president and members of his team of making payment to three individuals who claimed to have negative information about him, including the retired adult performer Stormy Daniels.

Bragg alleges that this was part of a “catch and kill” conducted by Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen to suppress negative information in 2015 in the lead up to the presidential election.

According to Bragg, Trump repeatedly made false statements on New York business records and caused others to do so. The prosecutor said that these amounted to about 34 false statements made up to conceal other crimes.

“These are felony crimes in New York State no matter who you are. We can not and will not normalise serious criminal conduct,” the prosecutor said.

Comments by Trump’s legal team

Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, spoke to reporters outside the court. He said that Judge Juan M. Merchan, who is presiding over the case, told all the parties involved not to use language which could incite violence.

Joe Tacopina, another member of Trump’s legal team, said that the indictment showed “that the rule of law died in this country”.

“While everyone is not above the law, no one is below it either,” he continued, “And if this man’s name was not Donald J. Trump, there is no scenario we’d all be here today.”


Thus far, the White House has avoided weighing in on the issue, although questions about the former president’s arrest did come up during Tuesday’s daily press briefing.

“This is an ongoing case and we’re just not going to comment,” replied Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to one question. “The president is going to focus on the American people, like he does every day.”

Meanwhile, the increasingly divided US public remains at odds over the issue, especially as far as the most passionate political partisans are concerned. For many on the left, the indictment is a step towards justice, whereas for fans of the former president, the arrest is a baseless legal attack spurred on by political motivations.


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