Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a New York grand jury on 34 felony counts in an indictment unsealed Tuesday, with prosecutors detailing an alleged years-long scheme. Use “Hush Money” payments To suppress harmful information before the 2016 elections.
In a historic, highly choreographed appearance following strict security protocols, Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing in a lower Manhattan court, becoming the first former president to face a criminal trial. He has denied any wrongdoing and said District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, was politically motivated in bringing the case.
A 16-page charge sheet And in the statement of facts, prosecutors said Trump “conceived a scheme with others to suppress its publication and benefit the defendant’s electoral prospects by identifying and purchasing negative information about him to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
They said the scheme involved three payments by Trump allies to cover up damaging stories: $30,000 to a former Trump Tower janitor who said Trump fathered a child out of wedlock; $150,000 to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump; and $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who also alleged an affair. Trump has denied having affairs with both women, and the company that paid the former concierge determined his story was false.
Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen paid Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 election. Prosecutors said Trump illegally disguised his payments to Cohen by classifying them as legal fees.
“The records kept and maintained by the Trump Organization were false New York business records. In fact, there was no retainer agreement, and Lawyer A was not paid for legal services rendered in 2017,” the statement of facts said, citing Cohen. “Defendant falsified his entity’s business records to disguise his and others’ criminal conduct.”
Falsifying business records is generally a misdemeanor under New York law, but can be charged as a felony if done with “the intent to defraud (that includes) the commission of another crime or the intent to aid or conceal its commission.” Prosecutors said Trump’s conduct was intended to violate election laws.
At the end of the hearing, the former president was released and soon boarded a flight to Florida, where he would go. Provide comments to supporters Tuesday evening at his Mar-a-Lago resort.