Donald Trump appeared before court judges in Lower Manhattan, New York on Tuesday April 4th, 2023. The former U.S. president pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Around 1:30 p.m. New York time Donald Trump arrived at the Manhattan courthouse for the reading of the 34 counts in the Stormy Daniels case.
“Surreal.” That was how Donald Trump had described his hearing on his social Truth. The hearing lasted about an hour in all.
As known, the indictment revolves around an alleged $130,000 payment made by his staff to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election campaign. But that’s not all. Here’s the news from the court.
Donald Trump in court, the charges brought against him
Parallel to the trial, the U.S. press has begun to reveal the first details about the indictment. Cnn wrote that the indictment formalized last week would be unveiled. And, details of the 34 counts will probably be public soon.
Among them, Nbc News reported, would be conspiracy. In addition, there would also be money he paid to buy the silence of another woman. Namely, former Playboy bunny Karen McDougal.
The charges against Donald Trump are all Class E (felony) misdemeanors. This is the lowest level of felonies in New York state, with a maximum sentence of four years in jail.
Also, among Donald Trump’s payments to avoid scandal in his 2016 presidential campaign, according to the allegations, was $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman. Who, claimed the tycoon had fathered a child out of wedlock.
Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges
Donald Trump who was present in the courtroom with attorneys Joe Tacopina and Susan Necheles at his side, pleaded “not guilty” to all 34 counts charged against him.
Before entering the courtroom, the former president was fingerprinted, while there is a mystery around the mug shot.
Trump himself reportedly specifically asked for it to be taken but the request, however, was not granted. The feeling is that Trump would have wanted to exploit the image in his favor by using it in the new 2024 presidential election campaign.
Trump indicted, the trial could begin in January 2024
With the indictment hearing over, Donald Trump left the Manhattan courthouse headed to New York’s LaGuardia airport, from where he boarded his plane for Florida.
The judge set the next hearing for Dec. 4. At the end of the hearing, the judge did not set any restrictions for Trump other than a recommendation not to stir up hatred on social media.
Prosecutor Alvin Bragg for his part, on the other hand, said he was “very concerned” during the hearing about the effect Trump’s “threatening” social media posts could have on jurors and witnesses. Thus, he asked for a measure to protect them.
The very presidential election a year from now becomes, with this indictment and possible trial, uncharted territory. Polls show Trump remains the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination. And, his position has not wavered as news of the indictments has spread.
Trump, meanwhile, has tried to turn the public against the case. On March 18, he launched a message on his social media site stating that he expected to go under arrest within days.
Although this never happened (and his aides clarified that he had not relied on any inside information), Trump used this opportunity to highlight weaknesses in the case and to attack Bragg with a barrage of personal and even racist statements.
Race to the White House still possible
Trump’s indictment raises questions, particularly whether such charges or a conviction could disqualify Trump from presidency.
The answer legal experts give is that even if convicted, he would not be barred from the presidency should he wins elections.
According to the Constitution, all U.S.-born citizens who are at least 35 years old and have resided in the United States for 14 years are eligible to run for president. There is no legal impediment for Trump to continue his presidential campaign while facing criminal charges. Even if he were jailed, legal experts say.
President Joe Biden’s comment: “Focused on the American people.”
President Joe Biden is “focused on the American people.” This is how White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre responded to a question about the U.S. president’s reaction to Donald Trump’s arrest in Manhattan.
Without making any comment on the ongoing court case, Jean-Pierre reported that of course “Biden will follow the news, but that this is not his main focus of the day.”