Former President Trump to be Arraigned on Criminal Charges

April 4, 2023

Former President Trump arrived in New York City Monday afternoon to face arraignment Tuesday afternoon on criminal charges related to a hush money payment during the 2016 campaign season.

Trump arrived back in his hometown from Florida amid ramped up security. Mayor Eric Adams (D) warned potential “rabble-rousers” to behave, and called out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) by name, as she plans to lead a rally protesting Trump’s indictment along with the New York Republicans, a group with ties to white nationalists.

Around 2:15pm ET, Trump will be presented with charges and will likely enter a plea of not guilty to a reported 34 felony counts related to business fraud that were handed up in an indictment by a Manhattan grand jury.

According to reports, Trump will not have a mugshot taken, nor will he be handcuffed. 

Further, New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan denied a request from several media outlets to allow cameras to cover the court proceedings live, but he did say the court would allow a “limited number” of videographers, photographers and radio reporters to be present—though they cannot broadcast live. Five pool photographers will be allowed to take still pictures for several minutes before the hearing begins.

At the arraignment, the judge will determine the conditions of Trump’s release—including whether he can be released with no restrictions, which is known as being released on personal recognizance. Considering Trump is surrounded at all times by U.S. Secret Service, and because he’s running for reelection in 2024, he’s not considered a flight risk.

The arraignment comes after former Trump attorney and self-described “fixer” Michael Cohen testified twice before the grand jury. 

Cohen had pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal crimes and served prison time for his role in the payoff of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to prevent her from talking about an affair she had with Trump days before Election Day 2016. The payment was a campaign contribution violation during the 2016 election cycle, since it was made in service of the Trump campaign and $130,000 exceeded the federal limit.

Trump has consistently denied all wrongdoing and attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, accusing him of leading a politically motivated prosecution. Trump has also denied any affair with Daniels, who had been looking to sell her story during the 2016 campaign.

However, Daniels’ hush money payment came after former Playboy model Karen McDougal was paid $150,000 in 2016 by the National Enquirer for her story about having had a 10-month affair with Trump in the mid-2000s. The tabloid never ran her story, but in paying her the Enquirer kept McDougal from selling it to any other media outlet, in a practice called “catch and kill.”

Though Trump has publicly denied having had an affair with either woman, former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker—whom Cohen tried but failed to get to buy Daniels’ story in 2016—testified before the Manhattan grand jury on March 27.

The criminal indictment of a former U.S. President is an unprecedented act in U.S. history. An indictment in Manhattan could potentially open the door for other prosecutors as Trump is under criminal investigation not just in New York, but also in Georgia and by the federal government for his role in attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.

PHOTO: Manhattan Criminal Courthouse

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