What to know about Trump's arraignment
- Former President Donald Trump was arrested and surrendered to authorities at the courthouse in Manhattan around 1:30 p.m. ET and left about two hours later, after his arraignment.
- Trump pleaded not guilty today to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his alleged role in hush money payments toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign — the first time a former president has had to plead to criminal charges.
- Trump was arraigned before Judge Juan Merchan this afternoon on the charges, which resulted from an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
- Anti-Trump and pro-Trump protesters, as well as the media, flooded the area outside the courthouse. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and George Santos, R-N.Y., made brief stops to join Trump supporters protesting his indictment but left amid the chaos.
- Trump gave a speech tonight at Mar-a-Lago. He flew back to Florida immediately after his court hearing.
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Tacopina says clip of Bragg discussing litigation against Trump will be used in motion to dismiss
Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina, who has said Trump's legal team plans to file a motion to dismiss the Manhattan case, suggested that the motion is likely to refer to video clips of Alvin Bragg discussing Trump litigation before he was elected district attorney in 2021.
Referring to a series of clips played on Sean Hannity's Fox News show that appeared to show Bragg discussing his history of litigating against Trump, Tacopina said some of the video "will be part of our motion to dismiss."
"A motion to dismiss is coming on several grounds. Prosecutorial misconduct, selective prosecution for sure will be two of them," Tacopina said.
Michael Cohen says documents will show Trump's guilt
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who is expected to be a witness against his former boss in any potential trial stemming from the hush money probe, said the case will come down to documents, not testimony.
"I can promise you that Mr. Bragg and his qualified team will be providing a significant amount of documentary evidence that will corroborate all of the allegations," Cohen said tonight in an interview on CNN.
Cohen, who admitted to an array of crimes in 2018, said his credibility will matter less than Trump's own before a jury.
"Michael Cohen's not the defendant, Donald. You are," Cohen said into the camera.
"He thinks by attacking people — whether it's the judge or the judge's daughter, myself, or anybody — that this gives the appearance of strength. It doesn't. It actually gives the appearance of ignorance and stupidity," Cohen said.
Trump is bracing his GOP supporters for more indictments
After having pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in New York, Trump gave a speech at Mar-a-Lago that braced his supporters for more indictments — and insisted they would all be politically motivated.
In Trump’s narrative, the cases are meritless, the prosecutors are liberals, and his critics are conspiring to wield the law against him unfairly — all with the aim of stopping him from becoming president in 2024.
The Manhattan case? A “ridiculous indictment,” he said, and “the criminal is the district attorney.”
The probe in Washington involving misuse of presidential records? “Gun-toting” FBI agents targeted him wrongly, he said. “There is no criminality.” The special counsel charged with looking into it? A “lunatic,” he said.
His legal woes in Georgia due to his asking Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn his 2020 defeat? He said the phone call was “perfect.” And the case is about trying “to interfere with the 2024 election.”
He also went after New York Attorney General Letitia James as an anti-Trump political actor for the civil case involving him. “It’s cost hundreds of millions of dollars to defend,” he said, vowing not to settle it.
The Mar-a-Lago crowd booed the names as he mentioned them.
Trump is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and his speech was an attempt to give his supporters a permission structure to minimize further legal woes he anticipates.
It’s an open question whether any of his Republican rivals will challenge his claims. So far, they’ve rushed to defend him.
After his arrest, Trump returns to Mar-a-Lago to continue campaigning for president
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Just hours after he left his fingerprints in a Manhattan courthouse and on American history, Trump returned to his home turf at the Mar-a-Lago club here and proclaimed that he is being unjustly persecuted through prosecution.
“They can’t beat us at the ballot box, so they try to beat us through the law,” Trump, the first former president ever charged with a crime, said Tuesday night to a room of supporters that included luminaries of his movement, such as defeated Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, voter fraud evangelist Mike Lindell and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Ronny Jackson, R-Texas.
“We are a nation in decline, and now these radical left lunatics want to interfere in elections by using law enforcement,” Trump said, tying his prosecution and the multiple investigations he faces to his false claims of a rigged election in 2020. “We can’t let that happen.”
Speaking for less than 30 minutes, Trump was subdued, and it seemed that the day had taken its toll on him. But he didn’t stop with lambasting the case in New York. Rather, he turned his attention to additional legal jeopardy he faces.
Stormy Daniels, the doorman and a 2024 trial: The Trump indictment top takeaways
Here are some highlights and key takeaways from the indictment and the arraignment, from the charges themselves to other hush money payments.