Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts, including felony charges of falsifying business records, appearing in a Manhattan courtroom after surrendering to police to face an unprecedented indictment for the first time on Tuesday.
The charges were handed down by a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Bragg’s office has been investigating the circumstances surrounding a payment made on Trump’s behalf to an adult film star in 2016 in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair, which Trump has denied.
Trump’s Secret Service motorcade left Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan for the courthouse shortly after 1 m, cutting through New York traffic with a police escort as spectators looked on. When his motorcade arrived, Trump waved to the crowd and cameras before entering the courthouse to turn himself in. He was expected to have his fingerprints taken while in custody at Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, but wasn’t expected to have his mug shot taken or be placed in handcuffs.
More than an hour after arriving, Trump entered the courtroom where a judge was overseeing his arraignment hearing. No video recording was allowed in the courtroom, but a handful of photographers were briefly permitted to take pictures. One photo shows Trump seated at the defense table, flanked by his attorneys.
Trump is the first former president in U.S. history to be charged with a crime, and the case could have serious ramifications for his ongoing bid for the White House race as it unfolds over the coming months. He has maintained his innocence and denounced the Manhattan district attorney’s probe as a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
The former president is expected to then be released and return home to Florida, where he is set to deliver remarks to supporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday evening.
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