Donald J. Trump spent his day in police custody. After being processed at the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Trump is the first ex-POTUS to face criminal charges. His arraignment today involved more than 30 charges related to business fraud and hush money payments meant to influence the course of the 2016 presidential election.
He stood to plead not guilty to felony-level conspiracy charges. Reporters were seated behind him, keeping his facial expressions a mystery.
Proceedings started shortly after 2:30 PM EST. Trump arrived with four attorneys. The prosecutor described 34 counts involving covert illegal payment and falsifying business records “in the first degree” (a felony) with the intent of avoiding the release of information that would influence his presidential race.
The judge mentioned a concern about Trump’s social media posts, which could potentially incite violence against those involved in prosecution, including the legal team, witnesses, and jurors.
Following his court hearing, Trump joined his motorcade and prepared to leave for his flight from LaGuardia Airport to Mar-a-Lago.