RECAP: Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 criminal charges

Former U.S. President Donald Trump made history on Tuesday when he was charged criminally in a New York court for alleged 2016 hush money payments.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in connection with these allegations.

Here’s a recap of some of the key moments from the day.

8:51 p.m.

Trump has finished speaking after a wide-ranging address taking aim at his enemies, Hunter Biden’s laptop, the justice system and the election system.

“I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” Trump tells his supporters. “I never thought it could happen. The only crime that I’ve committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”

8:25 p.m.

Donald Trump has entered the room at his Mar-a-Lago etsate, along with family members. He’s greeted by a crowd of supporters and patriotic music in a campaign-style entrance.

4:20 p.m.

Bragg said Trump allegedly made false statements “to cover up crimes relating to the 2016 election.”

He accused Trump, executives at American Media Incorporated, former lawyer Michael Cohen and others of agreeing in 2015 to a “catch-and-kill scheme.”

“That is a scheme to buy and suppress negative information to help Mr. Trump’s chance of winning the election. As part of this scheme, Donald Trump and others made three payments to people who claim to have negative information about Mr. Trump. To make these payments, they set up shell companies, and they made yet more false statements,” Bragg said, adding that one of the people they allegedly paid was Stormy Daniels.

To conclude his remarks, Bragg said: “At its core, this case today is one with allegations like so many of our white collar cases — allegations that someone lied, again and again, to protect their interests and evade the laws to which we are all held accountable.

“As this office has done, time and time again, we today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law. No amount of money and no matter power changes that enduring American principle.”

4:12 p.m.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg held a news conference to discuss the case against Trump.

“Under New York State law, it is a felony to falsify business records with intent to defraud and an intent to conceal another crime. That is exactly what this case is about,” Bragg said. “Thirty-four false statements made to cover up other crimes.”

“No matter who you are we cannot and will not minimalize serious criminal conduct,” he added.

4:02 p.m.

After his arraignment, Trump boarded his plane to fly back to Florida. He is expected to deliver remarks at an event at his Mar-a-Lago club.

3:36 p.m.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg said that “Manhattan is home to the country’s most significant business market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct.”


3:30 p.m.

Trump’s motorcade has left the courthouse. He did not speak to reporters. He is expected to make public remarks from his home in Mar-a-Lago this evening.

3:00 p.m.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will hold a press conference at approximately 3:30 p.m. EDT addressing Trump’s arraignment. The address will be streamed here. The press conference’s exact timing will depend upon when Trump’s arraignment concludes.

2:51 p.m.

Former president Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. More to come.

2:30 p.m.

A stone-faced Trump entered the courtroom just before 2:30 without acknowledging any cameras or reporters. 

Donald Trump

2:20 p.m.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has entered the courtroom. Trump has not yet been spotted on the 15th floor where today’s hearing is expected to take place.

1:45 p.m.

Trump has arrived at the courthouse. He will soon appear before Judge Juan Merchan to learn the exact charges against him.

1:30 p.m.

Trump has departed Trump Tower for the Manhattan courthouse where his arraignment will take place. He is accompanied by a motorcade and being tracked by several helicopters.


1:22 p.m.

Trump posted on his social media site, Truth Social, saying “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse. Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”

12 p.m.

John Micek, editor-in-chief of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, told CP24 on Tuesday that the ex-president “can continue to mount his presidential campaign while under indictment,” saying “we have seen the former president trying to maximize his his political advantage” amidst the upcoming legal proceedings.

“He has raised money on the back of these charges as well,” Micek added. Micek told CP24 Trump “may or may not be” handcuffed and photographed, but he will be fingerprinted like a regular defendant. Because the suspected charges are non-violent in nature, it is likely Trump will be released on his own recognizance while he awaits trial.

With files from The Associated Press

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