MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Criminal charges against former President Donald Trump were unsealed Tuesday by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
The case concerns hush money paid during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Michael Cohen, a key witness in related grand jury proceedings, previously pleaded guilty in connection to payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, who alleged sexual relationships with Trump.
Cohen, a former longtime lawyer for the Trump Organization, alleges that the payments were made at Trump’s direction. Trump has denied having sex with either woman, branded Cohen a liar, and maintained his innocence in social media posts.
After a grand jury voted in favor of indictment, Bragg’s office moved to formally charge Trump.
“The People of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election,” Bragg said in a statement Tuesday. “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. As the Statement of Facts describes, the trail of money and lies exposes a pattern that, the People allege, violates one of New York’s basic and fundamental business laws. As this office has done time and time again, we today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”
What is former President Donald Trump charged with?
Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The former president pleaded not guilty.
Trump entered the plea Tuesday during a brief arraignment in a Lower Manhattan courtroom as prosecutors unsealed the grand jury indictment. Read the full indictment here.
Trump is accused of orchestrating a “catch and kill” scheme to identify and suppress damaging information about himself before and after the 2016 presidential election.
Trump allegedly conducted the scheme from August 2015 to December 2017 through a series of payments that he then concealed through false business entries, according to court documents and court statements.
Trump criticized the indictment after his arraignment, saying prosecutors don’t have a case against him.
“The 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 posted on his social media platform Truth Social.