Trump charged in silent money indictment for conspiracy and false records

Trump impeachment photos released from inside New York courtroom

Former President Donald Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business documents in connection with silent money payments to two women before the 2016 presidential election.

The indictment was detailed in a New York court on Tuesday, where Trump became the first former US president to be arraigned on criminal charges.

The indictment says the payments were intended to suppress claims by the women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, claiming they had sex with Trump, in an effort to prevent their stories to affect Trump’s chances against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Prosecutors also said a pro-Trump publishing company paid $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about Trump fathering a child out of wedlock.

Read the indictment against Trump

A prosecutor at the arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court said Trump’s crimes undermined the 2016 election.

“Not guilty,” Trump said from his seat before Judge Juan Merchan.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement, “The people of New York State allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that were hiding harmful information from voters during the 2016 presidential election.”

“Manhattan is home to the nation’s largest commercial market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to conceal criminal behavior,” Bragg said. “As described in the statement of facts, the trail of money and lies reveals a pattern that the people believe violates one of New York’s fundamental business laws. As this office has repeatedly done , today we assume our solemn responsibility to ensure that all are equal before the law.”

A prosecutor told the judge that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was concerned about Trump’s social media comments that could threaten the district attorney’s office and the city.

It included a message depicting Trump wielding a bat above District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s head.

The judge said he took Trump’s harsh rhetoric about the case very seriously.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Todd Blanche, told Merchan that Trump spoke forcefully, but was within his rights to do so.

Prior to the impeachment, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., posted on Trump’s Truth Social site a photo of Merchan’s daughter, who, according to a Breitbart news article, worked on the Trump election campaign. President Joe Biden.

“Seems relevant,” the younger Trump wrote. “BS never ends people.”

Silent payments

Daniels received $130,000 from Trump’s lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, under Trump’s direction.

McDougal received $150,000 from the publisher of The National Enquirer, the Trump-allied supermarket tabloid.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal crimes, two of which were campaign finance violations for facilitating payments to Daniels and McDougal.

Follow CNBC.comthe former live coverage Surrender and impeachment of President Donald Trump at the Manhattan Courthouse.

Former US President Donald Trump appears in court with his attorney Joe Tacopina for arraignment on charges stemming from his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following an investigation into hidden money paid to the star of porn Stormy Daniels, in New York, United States, on April 4. 2023.

andrew kelly | Reuters

The grand jury indicted Trump on Thursday. The charging document had remained sealed ever since.

The grand jury began hearing testimony in the case in late January.

News of the proceedings came as a surprise, as a former prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office last year suggested the Trump investigation was nearly dead after Bragg declined to seek an indictment against Trump in connection with allegedly false financial statements involving real estate assets. .

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Trump separately is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department and a state attorney in Georgia for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden.

The DOJ is also investigating Trump for keeping government records after leaving the White House and for possible obstruction of justice.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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