Former President Donald Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. He pleaded not guilty to all counts in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday afternoon.
The 34 felony counts are in relation to hush money payments made to two women and one doorman before the 2016 presidential election. One of the women is known to be adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Trump allegedly made these payments to suppress their negative claims about him before the election so as to not harm his campaign.
Prosecutors alleged that the former president "repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election," constituting a violation of state election laws.
The indictment details illegal payments of $150,000 and $130,000 that Trump allegedly requested his lawyer to make to two women to suppress their accounts alleging they had extramarital affairs with him.
Another illegal payment of $30,000 was made to a doorman "who was trying to sell information regarding a child that [Trump] had allegedly fathered out of wedlock." However, the doorman's account was later found to be untrue.
For nine months, Trump made false statements that he was paying his former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen for legal services performed in 2017, because he could not say they were reimbursements for the hush money payments, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.
He did this to "cover up crimes relating to the 2016 presidential election," Bragg said.
Trump was arrested after he turned himself in to New York authorities on Tuesday following a grand jury indictment on March 31. After the arraignment, he was released from custody and left New York for Mar-a-Lago, Florida.