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1 big thing: 34 COUNTS

- AXIOS - Mike Allen - APR 4, 2023 -

Former President Donald Trump entered Manhattan Criminal Court around 1:24 p.m. ET today, marking his official arrest.

Former President Trump sits at the defense table with his defense team in Manhattan court this afternoon. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

  • At his arraignment shortly after, Trump and the world learned he had been charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records relating to hush-money payments made around the time of the 2016 election.

According to prosecutors, the charges stem from several "catch and kill" schemes in addition to the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.

  • Prosecutors say the National Enquirer paid $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child Trump fathered out of wedlock.

  • The tabloid also paid $150,000 to another woman, believed to be former Playboy model Karen McDougal, to cover up an affair, per the charges.

  • Trump then "explicitly directed a lawyer who then worked for the Trump Organization" — Michael Cohen — to reimburse the Enquirer. The Enquirer refused payment but admitted to making false business entries.

  • Trump used Cohen to reimburse Daniels, through checks from the "Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust" and his own bank account — each "illegally disguised as a payment for legal services rendered pursuant to a non-existent retainer agreement," the charges say.

Trump didn't speak publicly before or after the brief hearing. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

As he left Trump Tower today, Trump raised his fist to greet the throngs of supporters (and protestors).

  • Minutes before he entered the New York courthouse, Trump posted on his Truth Social account: "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!"

Trump's 2024 campaign began advertising a T-shirt (free with a $47 contribution) with a fake mug shot of Trump above the phrase "NOT GUILTY."


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