Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 charges of falsifying business records after he was arraigned in the grand jury investigation in New York in an alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. The felony charges against him were revealed after the indictment, which you can see here, was unsealed in court on Tuesday, April 4.
The charges are considered Class E felonies. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in court to State Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan, per The New York Times. If Trump is found guilty, he could face a maximum of four years in prison for each charge. If he’s convicted on all charges, Trump could be sentenced to 136 years in prison if ordered to serve the sentences consecutively, but it is unlikely, per The New York Post. The indictment lists 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records In The First Degree. While each count is the same charge, the indictment lists the different instances that the crime allegedly took place.
After Trump was arraigned, District Attorney Alvin Bragg released a statement speaking about the charges. “The People of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election,” he said in a press release.
The charges were revealed after he surrendered for arrest on Tuesday, April 4. After the indictment was first reported Bragg tweeted a statement from a spokesperson. “This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office For arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” the statement said.
The indictment stems from a grand jury investigation into an alleged $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels to prevent her from speaking about an alleged affair Trump had with her. The payment can be considered an improper campaign donation.
Ahead of Trump’s arraignment, New York Mayor Eric Adams issued a warning to any of the former president’s supporters who may get violent amid the legal proceedings. “We will not allow violence or vandalism of any kind, and if one is caught participating in any act of violence, they will be arrested and held accountable. No matter who you are,” he said in part during a press conference.
Shortly before he was arraigned, Trump called out the judge and his family on his Truth Social platform. He referred to the proceedings as a “Kangaroo court,” while saying that it was “unfair” to hold the trial in Manhattan. “THE HIGHLY PARTISAN JUDGE & HIS FAMILY ARE WELL KNOWN TRUMP HATER,” he wrote.
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, and after the news of the indictment broke, he lashed out on his Truth Social platform. “These Thugs and Radical Left Monsters have just INDICATED [sic] the 45th President of the United States of America, and the leading Republican Candidate, by far, for the 2024 Nomination for President,” he wrote. “This is an attack on our country the likes of which has never been seen before. It is likewise a continuing attack on our once free and fair elections. The USA is now a third world nation, a nation in serious decline. So sad!”
With the news of the indictment, Daniels’ lawyer Clark Brewster revealed that he and the adult entertainer actually had a somewhat surprising response to the indictment. “The fact is that she feels bad that the guy has been charged,” he told USA Today. “But on the other hand, truly, she knew what the facts were and she wants him to deal with the truth as well. So from that perspective, there’s a degree of feeling like the system is working.”
Amid the New York indictment, Trump is also the subject of another grand jury investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He is also the subject of a Justice Department investigation into the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, and the House Select Committee, investigating the January 6 attack also recommended four criminal charges to the Justice Department for Trump. In their final public hearing, the committee referred him for obstructing an official proceeding, attempting to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make false statements, and insurrection.