Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records
04/04/2023 2:09 pm PDT
Via The Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump conspired to illegally influence the 2016 election through a series of hush money payments designed to stifle claims that could be harmful to his candidacy, prosecutors said Tuesday in unsealing a historic 34-count felony indictment against the former president.
The payments, said Assistant District Attorney Christopher Conroy, were part of "an unlawful plan to identify and suppress negative information that could have undermined his campaign for president."
Trump, stone-faced and silent as he entered and exited the Manhattan courtroom, said "not guilty" in a firm voice while facing a judge who warned him to refrain from rhetoric that could inflame or cause civil unrest.
The next court date is December 4, though it is not clear if he will be required to appear.
The broad contours of the case have long been known, but indictment contains new details about a scheme that prosecutors say involved payoffs to two women, including a porn star, who said they had extramarital sexual encounters with him years earlier, as well as to a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child he alleged the former president had out of of wedlock.
The arraignment, though largely procedural in nature, amounts to a remarkable reckoning for Trump after years of investigations into his personal, business and political dealings. The case is unfolding against the backdrop not only of his third campaign for the White House but also against other investigations in Washington and Atlanta that might yet produce even more charges.
Trump, his lips pursed in apparent anger, entered the courtroom shortly before 2:30 p.m. He left court about an hour later, also without commenting. All told, the typically verbose Trump spoke only about 10 words during the entire proceeding.
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