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Donald Trump’s day in court

Donald Trump Has held many titles in her 76 years: CEO, reality television host, casino magnate, beauty pageant owner and President of the United States, among others.

when he Walked quietly into a Manhattan courtroom On Tuesday afternoon, staring straight ahead with pursed lips, it was a title that neither Trump nor any former president in American history has had: criminal defendant.

Although flanked by more than two dozen court officials and Secret Service agents, Trump was otherwise like the countless thousands of defendants who sat in Room 1530 of the eight-decade-old Manhattan Criminal Courthouse.

A court clerk read the charges— 34 felony counts Falsification of business records – As a court reporter who has personally transcribed thousands of cases, documenting every word.

Judge Juan Marchan accepted the defendant’s plea.

“Not guilty,” Trump said.

Trump - courtroom sketch from the indictment

A courtroom sketch of former President Donald Trump during his arraignment in a New York City court on April 4, 2023. He pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

Jane Rosenberg

Throughout the nearly hour-long proceeding, Trump sat with his body forward, often turning his head to look at defense attorneys and prosecutors as they spoke.

Trump, wearing a dark blue suit and red tie under his trademark blond hair, spoke five more times, leaning into the microphone and saying “yes” and “I do” as Marchan asked him if he understood the various rights the defendants had been granted.

Prosecutors said Trump falsified business records 34 times, making “disguised monthly payments” as part of a “conspiracy” beginning in August 2015 to pay people with stories that Trump and others believed could damage his presidential campaign.

They asked Marchan to warn Trump against social media posts threatening “our city, our justice system, our courts and our office.

Prosecutor Christopher Conroy cited, among others, a Truth social post in which Trump was seen holding a baseball bat. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Braggits head

Conroy said the posts “directly addressed the grand jury” and included “discredited witnesses.”

Defense attorney Todd Blanch said Trump “responded forcefully” and was “understandably upset” about witnesses publicly discussing the case and what Blanch described as “leaks” from the DA.

The merchant interrupts and says, it is wrong.

“I think they were complaining about the rhetoric and the accusatory nature of Trump’s post,” he said.

Marchan, who was also targeted by Trump in the post, said he was not interested in issuing a gag order in the case. Marchan said he wanted to protect the First Amendment rights of the presidential candidate sitting before him.

Marchan asked defense lawyers to urge Trump to “please refrain from making statements that could incite violence or civil unrest.”

“Please do not engage in words or behavior that could threaten the rule of law,” Marchan said, adding that prosecutors should issue similar warnings to witnesses.

When the hearing ended, Trump left as quickly as he had arrived, this time used by the general public, and left through the elevator — the crowded halls were cleared but for a few people behind television cameras, whom Trump did not address.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for December 4, and prosecutors have suggested a January 2024 trial date.

Blanch called that proposal “a bit aggressive.”

The allegation relates to forgery of documents in a connection Payment Created in 2016 before Trump was elected president. His former lawyer, Michael Cohenalready admitted to arranging a $130,000 wire transfer to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair.

Cohen served time in a federal prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to tax evasion and campaign finance violations in connection with the payments.

Trump has denied having sex with Daniels and has strongly denied wrongdoing in the case. Trump, a Republican running for president, has repeatedly accused Bragg, a Democrat, of pursuing the case because of political animosity.

The investigation began in 2018 under Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr. It initially focused on payments to Daniels before expanding into a broader investigation of Trump’s finances. Trump challenged the local district attorney’s ability to submit a president’s tax returns, leading to a landmark Supreme Court decision allowing the returns to be released.

In a November 2020 interview with CBS News, then-candidate District Attorney Bragg described Cohen’s federal indictment, which Trump described as an arbitrary co-conspirator, as potentially “ready to charge.” While stressing that he cannot “prejudge” a case until he has evidence, Bragg said it appeared to be “prosecutorial discretion” not to indict Trump in Cohen’s case.

Bragg was elected in November 2021, taking office two months later. The two chief prosecutors resigned when the investigation soon appeared stalled. One, Mark Pomerantz, claimed in a resignation letter — and later a book — that Bragg had decided against following through. Another grand jury investigation On Trump’s real estate financial record. case

Bragg has always maintained that the investigation was open and active.

In August 2022, Bragg’s office secured a Guilty pretext Trump was indicted on Tuesday as a result of the same investigation into a tax fraud case involving former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weiselberg.

Three months later, Weiselberg was the prosecution’s star witness in the trial of two Trump Organization companies, which were found guilty Dec. 6 of 17 criminal counts related to tax fraud and other crimes.

By then, investigators from Bragg’s office had turned to Daniels’ payments. In the months that followed, a stream of former Trump staffers and White House staffers were questioned by a grand jury investigating the Daniels deal.

Trump was impeached on March 30.

Trump also faces legal hurdles in courtrooms down the Eastern Seaboard. In Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fannie Willis is considering taking charges to investigate alleged efforts by Trump and more than a dozen of his allies to undermine the state’s results in the 2020 election, which he lost to President Biden. A special purpose grand jury conducted a six-month investigation last year and Submitted a report with his findings to Willis in January.

In Washington, DC, Special Counsel Jack Smith Oversees two Justice Department investigations into the lawful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election and the alleged handover of sensitive government documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, including whether he obstructed and potentially obstructed their recovery.

And a few blocks from the Manhattan courthouse where Trump was indicted is the New York attorney general’s office, which in September sued Trump, his three children and their company for $250 million, alleging massive fraud spanning more than a decade and demanding sanctions bring the company to its knees. designed to

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all cases.

Investigating Trump

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