UNITED STATES NEWS

Live updates: Donald Trump arraigned on 34 felony counts

Apr 4, 2023, 5:30 AM | Updated: 6:14 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Follow along for live updates on former President Donald Trump, who surrendered Tuesday at a Manhattan courthouse to face arraignment on charges stemming from hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to bury allegations that he had extramarital sexual encounters.

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What to know:

— Arraignment provides new detail on charges facing Trump

— Manhattan prosecutors release indictment

— The three hush money cases in Trump indictment

— Trump’s day in court

— Small but chaotic crowd gathers near Manhattan courthouse

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TRUMP DEFIANT IN MAR-A-LAGO SPEECH

Flanked by American flags, former President Donald Trump delivered a campaign-style speech to cheering supporters at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night.

Trump was defiant, referring, among other things, to his two impeachment trials during his presidency and an ongoing probe into alleged attempts to interfere in that state’s 2020 presidential election. He called the New York indictment the latest in an “onslaught of fraudulent investigations.”

“This fake case was brought only to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election and it should be dropped immediately,” Trump said.

He also lashed out at the prosecutor and the judge presiding over the New York case — despite being warned hours earlier by the judge to refrain from rhetoric that could cause civil unrest.

Trump waved goodbye as he made his way out of the ballroom thronged by people recording the moment with their smartphones.

The crowd included supporters like failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and longtime ally Roger Stone.

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TRUMP RETURNS TO FLORIDA

In a social media post from his plane on his flight home from New York, former President Donald Trump said that Tuesday’s court hearing “was shocking to many in that they had no ‘surprises,’ and therefore, no case. Virtually every legal pundit has said that there is no case here. There was nothing done illegally!”

Trump’s plane has landed in Florida, and his motorcade headed to his Mar-a-Lago resort where hundreds of supporters, many in red MAGA hats, awaited him in a grand ballroom. Trump was expected to speak there in a campaign-like setting.

One man wore a jacket patterned with star-shaped American flags, and another man wore a red tie with the message “No Crime!” Members of a motorcycle club sported black leather vests that read on the back “Born To Ride for 45 Donald Trump.” Trump was the 45th U.S. president.

Alex Gonzalez, a motorcycle club member, said he supports Trump in his 2024 presidential bid.

“If he did something wrong, like anybody else, he should be held liable for it, but at the same time this is a witch hunt. This is not a real case,” said Gonzalez.

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MANHATTAN DA BRAGG DISCUSSES CHARGES

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg says his office’s historic case against former President Donald Trump seeks to “ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”

“No amount of money and no amount of power changes that enduring American principle,” Bragg said.

Bragg spoke to a room packed with reporters following Trump’s arraignment Tuesday in a Manhattan courthouse on 34 felony charges tied to hush money paid to multiple people during the 2016 presidential campaign. The former president pleaded not guilty.

Bragg, who took office in 2022 and initially slowed the office’s move toward indicting Trump, said additional evidence not available to his predecessor led to moving forward now. He didn’t elaborate on the evidence or how it came to prosecutors’ attention.

“I bring cases when they’re ready,” Bragg said.

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JUDGE WARNS TRUMP TO AVOID INFLAMING RHETORIC

A New York judge warned former President Donald Trump to refrain from rhetoric that could inflame or cause civil unrest during Trump’s arraignment Tuesday in Manhattan.

Trump told Judge Juan Merchan that he pleaded not guilty, and the judge advised him of his rights.

Merchan also warned Trump that he could be removed from the courtroom if he is disruptive, but Trump spoke only a few times to respond to questions.

He’s next due in court in December. Trump’s lawyers asked for him to be excused from attending the hearing in person because of extraordinary security precautions.

The judge said he was not imposing a gag order at this point, but he asked both sides to refrain from comments that could lead to civil unrest.

Trump stayed mostly still with his hands steepled or interlaced and looked ahead during the proceedings, which lasted just under an hour.

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TRUMP LEAVES MANHATTAN COURTHOUSE

Former President Donald Trump has left the Manhattan courthouse after his arraignment on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Trump did not answer a reporter’s shouted question about the charges as he quickly left the courtroom where the hearing was held.

Trump spent about two hours inside the building for booking and the arraignment where he learned the details of the criminal charges he faces while running a third presidential campaign.

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TRUMP PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO 34 FELONY COUNTS OF FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter.

The two officials who confirmed the plea spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because prosecutors had not yet released the indictment publicly.

The charges stem from a hush-money payment during the 2016 campaign.

Photos from the courtroom showed Trump sitting at the table reserved for defendants and their attorneys. His legal team surrounded him, two seated on each side of the former president.

Trump leaned forward slightly, his shoulders rounded, but he didn’t turn his face away from photographers given permission to be in the courtroom just before the hearing.

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WHITE HOUSE REMAINING QUIET ON TRUMP CHARGES

While the country’s attention was trained on the Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump was being arraigned, the White House did its best Tuesday to suggest that it wasn’t paying much attention.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that “our focus right now is on the American people,” and was noncommittal when asked whether President Joe Biden was following the news.

“He will catch part of the news when he has a moment to catch up on the news of the day,” she said. “But this is not a focus for him today.”

Jean-Pierre was similarly circumspect when asked about the potential for unrest over the prosecution of the former president, especially since Trump has called for protests.

“We are prepared,” she said.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy tried unsuccessfully to get Jean-Pierre to open up more.

“Why don’t you have more to say about the Trump indictment?” he asked. “For better or worse, all that anybody in the country is talking about, at this exact moment while we’re in here, is Trump. And they look here to find out what the White House thinks about it.”

“I think the American people should feel reassured that when there is an ongoing case like this one, that we’re just not commenting,” Jean-Pierre said.

But reporters didn’t give up.

“I love how you guys are asking me this in different ways,” Jean-Pierre joked. “You guys are clever.”

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TRUMP ENTERS COURTROOM FOR ARRAIGNMENT

Former President Donald Trump has entered the Manhattan courtroom where he is scheduled for arraignment on criminal charges stemming from a hush-money payment during his 2016 campaign.

Trump reached the 15th floor courtroom about 70 minutes after he entered the courthouse to surrender and be booked ahead of the hearing.

Trump did not acknowledge a television camera sending live images from the hallway outside the courtroom.

Judge Juan Merchan has ruled that TV cameras will not be allowed in the courtroom. Trump’s attorneys have said he will plead not guilty.

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MANHATTAN DA ENTERS COURTROOM

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has entered the courtroom where former President Donald Trump is scheduled for arraignment on criminal charges stemming from a hush-money payment during his 2016 campaign.

Trump has not yet been seen on the 15th floor where the hearing is supposed to take place. Wearing a navy blue suit and a bright red tie, Trump entered the courthouse around 12:20 p.m. to surrender on the charges and be processed before the hearing.

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TRUMP ARRIVES AT MANHATTAN COURTHOUSE

Former President Donald Trump has arrived at the Manhattan courthouse where he is expected to plead not guilty to criminal charges. He entered the courthouse surrounded by Secret Service agents.

Trump’s motorcade traveled from Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan, tracked by numerous helicopters.

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TRUMP LEAVES NEW YORK HOME

Former President Donald Trump pumped his fist and waved before leaving Trump Tower shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday, bound for the Manhattan courthouse nearly 4 miles (6 kilometers) away.

Trump’s attorneys have arranged for his surrender. He will be booked at the courthouse, not at a police precinct as most New York defendants are.

Court officials will create a record of his name, age, birthdate, height and weight before taking his fingerprints via a computerized system. They may take his photo.

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FLORIDA LAWMAKER PLEDGES TO KEEP SUPPORTING TRUMP

A former Florida state lawmaker said he and others drove from Orlando to New York in time for Tuesday’s hearing to send a message to former President Donald Trump: We won’t stop supporting you.

Anthony Sabatini, chair of Florida’s Lake County Republican Party, joined other Trump supporters in a park near the Manhattan courthouse where Trump’s arraignment was to be held.

“It’s a bad day for America, one of the worst days in American history, he said.

The mood among Trump supporters, though, was positive, Sabatini said. He credited New York police officers with keeping people separated based on their motivation — in support of Trump or in support of his indictment.

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GREENE SPEAKS BRIEFLY AMID SHOUTS

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene briefly rallied supporters of Donald Trump outside the Manhattan courthouse Tuesday morning ahead of the former president’s arraignment.

After she exited an SUV, a large crowd surrounded the Georgia Republican, once shunned by the GOP as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric. She made her way through a park where hundreds of onlookers and journalists gathered and used a bullhorn to speak briefly. It was difficult to hear her comments in the crowd.

In video of the remarks, Greene thanked “patriotic Trump supporters who are here today.” She called Republicans “the party of peace” and called Democrats “the party of violence.”

Greene then made a fast exit. It was unclear whether she would return. In an interview posted online, Greene said she planned to speak with media from a car and accused counter-protesters of assault for blowing whistles and shouting as she spoke.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday said his message for Greene was that she should “be on your best behavior.” Greene blasted Adams for “calling me out by name.”

“As you can see, I’m standing here peacefully protesting,” she said.

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GEORGE SANTOS JOINS TRUMP SUPPORTERS OUTSIDE COURTHOUSE

George Santos, the besieged Republican congressman facing multiple investigations into lies he told while running for office, joined the growing crowd of people gathered outside the Manhattan courthouse ahead of former President Donald Trump’s arraignment.

Santos told The Associated Press that he didn’t plan to go inside the courthouse but came to “support the president.”

“I want to support the president, just because I think this is unprecedented, and it’s a bad day for democracy,” Santos said. “What’s to stop the next prosecutor in two years from doing the same thing to Joe Biden and moving on every four years? So this makes bad precedent legally. And it makes, it cheapens the judicial system, and it’s not good for America.”

Santos has rejected calls for his resignation, including some from members of his own party. He demurred Tuesday when asked if he hopes Trump will continue to back him in return for the show of support.

“I’m not here for that,” he said.

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RALLY FOR TRUMP

People began gathering Tuesday morning for a rally for Donald Trump in a park outside the courthouse where the former president is scheduled to be arraigned.

The rally with Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was scheduled to start several hours ahead of Trump’s court appearance.

Some anti-Trump protesters also appeared, unfurling a large banner saying “Trump Lies All the Time.”

Trump supporters also are expected expected to gather at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on Tuesday night as he returns. ___

PROSECUTOR ARRIVES

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg arrived at court Tuesday morning in New York ahead of former President Donald Trump’s arraignment.

Bragg became Manhattan’s first Black district attorney in 2022, following his election the previous November. He inherited a yearslong grand jury investigation into hush money paid on Trump’s behalf during his 2016 presidential campaign.

After taking office, Bragg slowed his office’s move toward an indictment of Trump and said he had concerns about the strength of the case. That sparked a public protest by two prosecutors who were leading the investigation and resigned.

But Bragg convened a new grand jury this year after convicting Trump’s family company for tax fraud. He called that result a “strong demarcation line” for proceeding with other parts of the probe.

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TRUMP ATTORNEY: ‘NO GUILTY PLEA’

Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said the former president’s appearance in court for Tuesday’s arraignment would be brief because the processing “does not take long.”

“It won’t be a long day in court,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“We know the basis of the indictment and the factual allegations in the indictment,” Tacopina said, adding that Trump would maintain his innocence.

“One thing I can assure you as I sit here today: There’ll be no guilty plea in this case. That’s one thing I can guarantee you,” he said.

Tacopina appeared to predict that the case would ultimately be dismissed.

“I don’t think this case is going to see a juror,” he said. “I think there’s a legal challenge that will be made and should be made successfully.”

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SPECTATORS LINE UP

Spectators, many of them members of the news media, lined up overnight to get a seat inside the courtroom, or even just a glimpse of Trump, who wasn’t expected until Tuesday afternoon.

The building was surrounded by barricades, and people were undergoing layers of security checks. The reporters waiting in line were camped out under tents with lawn chairs, blankets and pizza boxes.

The nation’s 45th commander in chief was expected to be escorted from Trump Tower — which was also surrounded by barricades — to a lower Manhattan courthouse by the Secret Service.

Police braced for protests from supporters of Trump, a Republican who is running for the White House again in 2024. He called the decision by a grand jury to indict him “political persecution and election interference at the highest level.”

Prosecutors investigated money paid to porn actor Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep the women from going public with claims that they had sex with him.

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Live updates: Donald Trump arraigned on 34 felony counts