Donald Trump charges: Everything we know so far about former US president’s arraignment

Donald Trump in the courtroom on Tuesday (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump in the courtroom on Tuesday (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York on Tuesday.

It is a historic moment as it is the first time any former US president has been tried on criminal charges.

Here is what we know so far:

What are the charges?

Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The charges are in connection with allegations he arranged ‘hush money’ payments to two women, including adult film star Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 presidential election to silence their accounts of sexual encounters with him.

Manhattan prosecutors allege Trump tried to conceal a violation of election laws during his 2016 run.

Prosecutors claim he was part of an unlawful plan to suppress negative information, including a $130,000 (£104,000) payment to Ms Daniels. They claim he did this in part to “promote his candidacy”.

The payments were made by Trump’s then lawyer, Michael Cohen, days before the election. Trump has denied an affair with Daniels.

What did Trump say in the courtroom?

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He appeared subdued in the courtroom in New York on Tuesday, responding only briefly when judge Juan Merchan asked him if he understood his rights.

The former president declined to speak with reporters after he left the court.

How has Trump reacted?

Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump protested his innocence and asserted on his Truth Social platform that the “hearing was shocking to many in that they had no ‘surprises’, and therefore, no case”.

“I never thought anything like this could happen in America,” he said of the New York indictment.

“This fake case was brought only to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election and it should be dropped immediately.”

Supporters have also stepped up attacks on the prosecutor leading the case, Alvin Bragg.

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, told reporters after the arraignment: “We’re going to fight it hard”.

He said Trump was “motivated” and that the charges would not stop him as he continues with his bid for the next US presidential election.

What has the lead prosecutor said?

Manhattan Attorney General Alvin Bragg, who brought the case, said in a press conference that his team of prosecutors were upholding the rule of law.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

He told reporters: “We today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.

“No amount of money and no amount of power changes that enduring American principle.”

What did the judge say to Trump?

Justice Juan Merchan, the judge assigned to Trump’s case, declined to impose a gagging order on Trump to prevent him speaking about the case.

However, he warned the former US president that he should not make comments that were inflammatory or could cause civil unrest.

Prosecutors had raised a series of social media posts made over the case, including one threatening “death and destruction” if he was charged.

When is the next court appearance?

The next in-person hearing date for Trump’s case in New York is set for December 4, at which he will be expected to appear.

Legal experts have warned this could be delayed as Trump’s legal team are expected to vigorously challenge the basis for the charges. The charges do not stop Trump running for office.