The 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, on April 4 was charged by the Manhattan district attorney in New York with “falsifying business records” in an alleged attempt to suppress information that would lead to negative information during his 2016 election campaign.
During the arraignment the 76-year-old former president Trump, who was not handcuffed, pleaded not guilty to all 34 felony counts of the indictment based on a crime that carries a maximum punishment of up to four years in prison.
“During and in furtherance of his candidacy for president, the defendant and others agreed to identify and suppress negative stories about him,” according to charging documents unveiled Tuesday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
He is scheduled to address supporters later in Florida, the state that he has made his home after living much of his life in New York City, where was born.
The charges relate to money he paid meant to quash claims that could have been harmful to his presidency, according to prosecutors.
Specifically, a significant amount of “hush money” was funneled through the former president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, to provide payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal.
Trump denied having had sexual relations with them before he ran for president and has denied any wrongdoing involving payments.
Ukraine took center stage during the first of two impeachment trials that Trump faced while serving one term before being unseated by Joe Biden.
The charges stemmed from a whistleblower’s report that said Trump tried to coerce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son, whose father was perceived as his main political opponent in the 2020 presidential elections. By doing so, Trump had allegedly withheld crucial military aid to Kyiv as it was defending against a Russian military invasion that started in 2014.
Trump called the first impeachment trial “a witch hunt.”
He was accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate in February 2020.
Trump would also be acquitted by the Senate during a second impeachment trial that ended on Feb. 13, 2021, on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors relating to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol Hill riot.
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