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Updated Apr 4, 2023, 9:05pm EDT
politicsNorth America

Trump responds to criminal charges: ‘There is no crime’

REUTERS/Marco Bello
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The News

Former President Donald Trump was arrested Tuesday afternoon after surrendering to New York authorities.

He later pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to hush money payments made to two women before the 2016 presidential election. He left the courthouse after the arraignment.

After returning to Mar-a-Lago, Trump addressed the criminal charges against him in a speech before supporters saying, “There is no crime.”

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It marks the first time in U.S. history that a former or current president has been criminally indicted.

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The Scene

Trump raised a fist outside the Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon before heading in a convoy to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to turn himself in.

A post on Trump’s Truth Social account said, “Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse. Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America.”

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Trump was not handcuffed when entering the district attorney’s office and waved to his supporters gathered outside. He reportedly had his fingerprints taken, but it is unclear if a mug shot was taken.

Trump waves to supporters before turning himself
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The former president then headed to the courthouse inside the same building for his arraignment. He remained silent when entering the courtroom and did not address reporters’ questions.

Inside the courtroom, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He did not comment while leaving the courtroom.

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Trump inside the courtroom waiting to be arraigned
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Pool

A lawyer for Trump, Todd Blanche, told reporters that the indictment was “sad” and “boilerplate,” adding, “We’re going to fight it, we’re going to fight it hard.”

During his Mar-a-Lago address on Tuesday evening, Trump told supporters: “I never thought anything like this could happen in America. The only crime I have committed is to fearlessly defend our country from those who seek to destroy it.”

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Step Back

Daniels alleges that she and Trump had an affair in 2006 and that Trump’s former fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen, paid her $130,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the affair shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen was subsequently found guilty of financial crimes, and he told prosecutors during his trial that Trump had reimbursed him for the payment. An investigation found that Trump had failed to disclose the reimbursement.

It is unclear what the charges against Trump are because the indictment is still under seal. Trump has called the indictment “political persecution,” “election Interference at the highest level in history,” and a “witch hunt.”

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